What's your job about?
I am a graduate on the $350 million retail redevelopment of the Grand Central shopping centre in Toowoomba, Queensland. I am assisting with the coordination of over 50 tenancies and the completion of the fresh food and market precinct. I am also currently finalising completion of my trade packages, including external signage and internal way finding.
A typical day for me consists of liaising with subcontractors, the client, and interacting with stakeholders from the general community. My work involves coordination with trades both onsite and in the office, tracking onsite works and reviewing design documentation.
Being in the construction industry is constantly challenging and stimulating and you have to be able to think clearly and solve problems as they occur. A great day at work is when I have been able to overcome any issues and keep to schedule. No day is ever dull and it is very satisfying to see the project evolve through the various stages and to celebrate project milestones as part of a team.
The graduate program at Probuild is very good because it provides opportunities for you to gain experience across all areas of the construction industry, both onsite and in the commercial sector of project. University gives you the basics, but nothing can compare to actually being part of the industry.
What's your background?
I was born and raised in Brisbane, Queensland. At my all-girls high school I developed an interest in mathematics and science, so engineering seemed like a natural choice when starting university. (My brother is a civil engineer so a little sibling rivalry also came into play.) University was great. Like most students, I made new friends, worked part-time, travelled, and studied into the early morning hours. I also gained some industry experience working as an undergraduate in a multi-disciplinary consultancy company.
The prospect of searching for my first job was daunting. I was an active member of the student engineering society and, during my final year, I attended an industry career night where I met several members of the Probuild Queensland team. I was eager to be part of a company that offered a structured graduate program over two years so I applied as soon as I had the opportunity. It goes without saying I was thrilled when I was offered a position on the Queensland program.
The Grand Central project is in a regional area of South-east Queensland so I had to relocate and this has been another great experience. I have been part of the Graduate Program for about a year and a half and one of the most important things it has done is allow me to affirm my career choice and make informed decisions about how I would like to progress
Could someone with a different background do your job?
For me, as a graduate, it has been incredibly satisfying to see the project take shape before my eyes, watching plans on paper turn into ‘bricks and mortar’. Years from now, I will be able to point and say, ‘I helped build that!’ A project like Grand Central can only be achieved by a diverse range of people working together, whether it be subcontractors, client representatives, or your team members. Having people from all walks of life build relationships with each other and strive towards a common goal is, in my opinion, the best part of my job.
What are the limitations of your job?
At the start, the concept of ‘work / life balance’ is difficult to master. There are early starts, long hours and weekend work. This often goes hand in hand with responsibility and at times, quite a bit of stress, so the construction industry may not be for everyone. But, I also think it is a great learning experience. If you ask, there are always people in the team who are willing to help. The construction industry gives you the opportunity to be part of something that has the potential to impact peoples’ lives positively. The only limitations are the ones you set yourself.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
- Gain industry experience as soon as possible. It is beyond valuable! Having a sound general knowledge of the industry can give you the edge in job interviews and in the early years of your career.
- The construction industry is ‘small’. Chances are, at some time, you will meet the people you attended university with, or people you have worked with on different projects. Be friendly and professional, build your networks and relationships, and accept whatever support or guidance you are offered.
- Travel whenever you get the opportunity and make the most of the long breaks between semesters!