PROFILE:

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from some of our most recent graduates.

Emma Bourne

What's your job about?

At present I am employed as a Graduate with Probuild, which is one of Australia’s largest tier 1 Construction Companies. Probuild delivers a number of projects nationwide within retail, residential, commercial sectors. At the moment my role involves working with the Design Team of the Greenland Centre in Sydney as a Design Graduate.

Probuilds’ Graduate Program offers the ability and requirement to rotate through a series of “Modules” which promotes a number of roles available within the company. Therefore my workload will shift to accommodate what module I’m currently working under, whether it be Estimating, Design Coordination, Contracts Administration, as well as Site Coordination and Supervision. 

Currently as a Design Graduate I’m entrusted with a number of responsibilities including design coordination/review of Joinery and Finishes, aiding the implementation of Sales/Purchaser Changes, facilitating Safety in Design Workshops, and assisting in the execution of Consultancy Agreements. Similarly, day to day tasks also include maintaining a number of tracking registers especially relating to Quality Management for the project, overseeing the Sample Sign Off processes for the project, as well as facilitating project contribution with Community Engagement. These tasks encourage a collaborative forum to work closely with project team members as well as with a range of consultants, authorities and client group.

So far through rotation I’ve been fortunate in timing as my beginning with the company coincided with the landing of the tender for the Greenland Centre which allowed me to start as a graduate in the Estimating Team. Alternating through roles over the course of the project so far has allowed me to understand the process from the beginning through to its current designed form and ongoing delivery. 

What's your background?

I grew up in the North Shore, Sydney, where my family home was being renovated by my father. Unlike most renovations, which are completed relatively quickly with the input of builders and consultants, our house was designed, demolished and re-built in sections by my father over the course of 14 years. It was a long process, but exciting to seeing each element eventuate whilst occupying the space, especially as each aspect was designed with specific intention. Witnessing and being a part of the build was a really inspiring process and sparked my interest in the industry.

During this period I went to Ku-ring-gai Creative Arts High School where I focused largely on Visual Arts, which combined with my interest in build environments brought me to the university degree of Interiors and Spatial design at UTS. This course integrated art, materiality, architecture and an analysis of the human body’s relationship dimensionally to space. After I finished the bachelor’s degree I was selected to continue to the Honours year, which was a year dedicated to developing a design project inclusive of a research thesis. During this year, as well as after, I worked for the University where I helped the Design Lecturers submit Research Outputs.

It was here I realised that although I enjoyed design, I felt as though I lacked the logic and tangibility of physically building and realised that my education would be better aided by joining the construction industry. I started in construction almost a year ago at Probuild in August 2016.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Absolutely. I feel as though my background is not a normal example of those apart of the construction industry, although it is connected, it’s not a usual leap coming from an interiors background.  

As long as you are dedicated, equipped with a base knowledge of terminology, and have an eagerness to learn the role is really accessible to any individual. The industry is extremely versatile with plenty of roles varying to suit numerous backgrounds. This is the appeal of the industry – with no shortage of inter-disciplinary knowledge it allows you to constantly learn from a variety of individuals and to grow accordingly into roles that may not have been initially intended or considered early on. 

What's the coolest thing about your job?

Personally the most exciting aspects of the role so far have been the tasks I’ve been asked to lead. As challenging as they are, the tasks themselves reveal your own capacity and allows you to take carriage of elements as they eventuate. Retaining responsibility for these tasks is extremely rewarding and allows you to learn via problem solving and collaboration. This can include being responsible for a package, hosting a series of workshops, or overseeing processes of submission or quality, as well as engaging personally with consultants, client groups, suppliers and subcontractors. 

Similarly working with an amazing group of people is the crucial part of what makes this job worthwhile. You’re learning from individuals at the forefront of the field pushing innovation and new technologies. It’s in moments when you’re exposed to these innovations that you begin to learn and understand new techniques, materials, designs and processes that have potential to make significant changes in the industry. For me these moments of observation have been some of the most valuable learning experiences I’ve witnessed so far. 

 

What are the limitations of your job?

Juggling multiple tasks can be one of the hardest components, you have a lot of work to churn through in a day and natural fluxes in energy can be frustrating when reaching constant deadlines. As long as you manage your own productivity in a sustainable manner this should be a reasonable transition. 

Working in this industry can also expose you to limitations of what happens after hours. It can be overwhelming to manage your personal admin when working long hours, and for this reason achieving a balanced lifestyle is a challenge especially when first starting.  

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

Have something to look forward as part of your routine, it’s easy to be constantly wrapped up in work deadlines and life admin. In saying this also be spontaneous especially when the working hours become longer, this will hopefully help to avoid the excuse of being “too busy”. 

Find a life mentor, this will keep you on track when things become overwhelming. Nothing more encouraging than finding excitement in learning, especially when inspired by a close friend. 

Try to establish out what makes “time fly” when you’re working, harnessing this ability will become extremely useful both in and outside of work especially when feeling overwhelmed affects your productivity. 

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