© Raphael Olivier


OCCUPATION: Building Engineer at Leighton Asia, Hongkong

MISSION: It's never to late to try something new

Tam Kit Choi was 43 years old when she decided to start building a career all over again. For over twenty years, she had worked in Hong Kong designing bridal fashions, advising bridal couples at photo shoots, and planning their wedding celebrations. It was an exciting and challenging job, but it had its downsides: hardly any free time, working until late at night and on weekends, and lots of travel abroad. There was little room for anything else. 

“In 2010, my father passed away and my mother started having health issues. It was hard to be a frequent traveler, as I wanted to have more time to accompany her,” says Kit Choi, who is now 50. So she looked for alternatives. One day, in a streetcar she noticed an advertisement of the Construction Industry Council Hong Kong (CIC), which was recruiting trainees for the construction sector. Construction industry, she thought—why not? It promised stability and future opportunities. On a whim, she submitted an application—and was hired. A period of intense learning began. Kit Choi, a petite Asian woman, stood out during her traineeship as a Construction Engineering Assistant—and not just because she was a woman and much older than her fellow trainees. She was tough, strong-willed, and highly motivated. These qualities of hers were honored when she graduated in 2013. 

She was the best in her class and received two honors: The Merit Awards of the CIC and of the Hong Kong Construction Association. She surprised even herself. That same year, Kit Choi started to work at the CIMIC subsidiary, Leighton Asia in Hong Kong, where she gained further qualifications. She began to study Construction Management in 2016 and received her degree in 2018. What’s next? The brand-new construction engineer is now looking forward to the first projects of her own. Her second career has only just begun.

Tam Kit Choi and Michal Takács have one thing in common: Both of them had the courage to try something entirely new—and were rewarded for it.