Allyson has had a full career, not only breaking barriers as a pioneering business woman in engineering, but serving various engineering institutions both in South Africa and Internationally and has been very influential in terms of advising all spheres of government and the private sector on engineering skills development, as captured in a number of articles included below.
The Future of SAICE & Civil Engineering, SAICE, August 1997

Considering the development imperative associated with the New South Africa alarm bells were ringing at an early stage in terms of engineering skills development and attention was finally focussed on addressing the demographic imbalance of the engineering profession.

SA First for London based Institution, SEIFSA News, March/April 1998

Having served on the South African committee of the London based Institution of Structural Engineering since 1988, Allyson became its first female International Vice President of the Institution in 1997.

Meet Allyson Lawless, SAICE, January 2000

Allyson became the first female president of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering in the year 2000.

Allyson Lawless, Business Leader Series Engineering News, January 2000

Allyson was recognised as a leader by Engineering News in their leadership series.

Synopsis of Allyson’s Presidential Speech IMIESA, February, 2000

Allyson’s presidential speech considered the success factors of the early infrastructure pioneers, and she encouraged all modern-day infrastructure developers to adopt a similar stance, calling on them to ‘Go Mad’ – an acronym for ‘Go and Make a Difference’

A Man Wishes to Emigrate IMIESA, 2000

A short story told during Allyson’s presidential speech which got the audience thinking.

Appropriate Engineering recognised at Awards Function Engineering News, October 2000

The SAICE awards in 2000 was a glittering affair co-hosted with SABTACO (The South African Black Technical and Allied Careers Organisation) at which the categories were expanded to consider not only major projects, but labour based and community projects and offshore developments.

Allyson Lawless ‘is Lawless’ SARIE, January 2001

Following her successful year as SAICE president many magazines saw fit to profile Allyson’s achievements

The Plight of S.A. Women in Engineering Engineering News, 2001

Given her prominence in the year 2000, Allyson was regularly involved in discussions and initiatives to encourage women to enter the world of engineering.

Signing the African Engineers Protocol The Civil Engineering Contractor, August 2001

After many years of debate and networking, the Africa Engineers Forum (AEF) was finally formalised with the signing of the AEF Protocol of Understanding in Harare in June 2001

Numbers & Needs SAICE, October 2005

‘Numbers and Needs : addressing imbalances in the civil engineering profession’ was launched in 2005, and highlighted the challenges associated with the loss of civil engineering professionals. For more information see ‘Publications’.

Numbers & Needs in Local Government Launched SAICE, November 2007

A pre-publication launch of Numbers and Needs in Local Government took place at the Africa Engineers Forum in Johannesburg in November 2007. The book offers an overview of local government, discusses the past and present, and shares ideas for the future.

Numbers & Needs in Local Government – “Rebuild don’t Restructure” Engineering News, December 2007

Emerging from the launch of Numbers and Needs in Local Government, the Engineering News article “Rebuild don’t restructure in finding youth-and-experience balance” focussed on one of the recommendations, which was the need to transfer skills to novice engineering staff.

Numbers & Needs in Local Government – The need for the Civil Engineering Profession. SAICE, January 2008

Numbers and Needs in Local Government was published in November 2007. The book addresses the shortages in civil engineering skills in local government, and suggests various interventions which should be considered to rebuild and professionalise service delivery structures. The book can be purchased from the SAICE bookshop. Contact details Tel 011-805 5947 or email Angelene Aylward at

Engineering Tertiary Capacity a Challenge Engineering News, 2008

As a result of the JIPSA initiative (Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition) and enhanced career guidance, the numbers of engineering students entering tertiary institutions had increased dramatically, but concerns about the capacity of tertiary institutions and industry to adequately educate, train and develop tomorrows engineering professionals were expressed.

Engineering Tertiary Summit Engineering News, 2012

Engineering skills were the subject of a Summit held in October 2012 at which Allyson outlined the poor throughput rates of engineers and engineering technicians and technologists from universities and universities of technology respectively.