What's your job about?
John Holland is an integrated company that provides services to the construction industry from construction, development and operational services. I am currently working on the Sydney Metro Stage 1 Project as a graduate site engineer.
A typical day involves spending the first half of the day on site with the work crew. This time is spent sorting out issues on site, ensuring that all workers have the required information and direction to complete their tasks and making sure that all work completed is to the required quality standards. Mixed into this is taking design consultants, representatives from government entities and stakeholders to inspect work that is being completed.
The second half of the day is usually spent in the office. This time is taken to ensure all paper work and logistics are in line for the upcoming works. This includes checking drawings to ensure that there are no issues or clashes. Any issues are resolved with the design team before the works commence. From this, the purchasing of the required materials and equipment required to complete the works is undertaken.
Once this is all completed, the construction programme and costs are monitored and adjustments made. Any potential issues are flagged and solutions are proposed. Your contribution could be changing the detailed design drawings to make construction easier, quicker and cheaper.
Finally, you will be working on quality documentation for work that is upcoming or has been completed.
In between of all this, you are taking phone calls and running to site to sort out the issues or answer questions the work crews have for you whilst also attending meetings.
What's your background?
Born and raised in Sydney, I have spent my entire schooling and working career here.
An important life event that has shaped me was my very first three day hike during a year 11 high school PDHPE trip. Three days of hiking up a mountain side with a heavy back pack and little time to rest to eat or drink was both physically and mentally challenging. This hike changed the perspective of what I was physically and mentally capable of. It made me understand that nothing is impossible if you put the effort in and remove the self-doubt I had.
Another important stage of my life was during my final year of high school. Whilst most people were busy studying, I was developing an understanding of what makes me tick. What career would I enjoy doing for the next 60 years of my life and is it suited to me? Understanding this sets you up for the greatest chance of success and career fulfilment.
I am currently one year into my graduate program with John Holland and heading into my sixth year in the construction industry. Everyone is able and encouraged to apply for the graduate program via the John Holland website. There are plenty of opportunities in the future from building, civil, infrastructure and development. As a graduate, your interests are taken into account so you will have the opportunity to rotate through many different aspects of construction. I personally have worked on my first civil project through the John Holland graduate program despite having a building background.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Anyone is definitely capable of becoming an engineer in the construction industry no matter your age or previous experience. The construction industry requires teamwork to successfully deliver projects. As a result, people of all personality types and experiences come together to form a high performing team. The skills that are important include being able to work well within a team, be hard working, have a strong work ethic and be able to remain focused under high pressure situations. These form the basis of the skillsets required in the industry as all the technical skills can be learnt on the job.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The coolest thing about my job is that you are always busy and working in a fast-paced environment. The days go by very quick as you rarely have time to think or catch your breath. I often catch myself looking at the time for the first time and half the day has gone by. There aren’t many jobs out there where you aren’t counting down the hours.
Secondly, taking an empty block of land and transforming it into a finished product whether it be a building, road, bridge is a truly satisfying moment. You get the opportunity to work on projects that mean something to someone, whether it be a home, a means of access or providing them with a better quality of life. Your work directly helps the wider community in some way.
What are the limitations of your job?
Being an engineer in the contracting side, you hold a lot of responsibility and are held accountable for your actions. When you say you will do something, you are expected to do that task.
Long working days and weekend work occur quite often during certain stages of projects. Whilst this does not always occur, it does happen more often than not.
You will also deal with many different people from a wide range of backgrounds. At times, these people may get angry at you, upset or irritate you. You must learn to deal with these situations and move on. If you hold grudges you will find the team oriented environment very difficult.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
Looking back, three pieces of advice I would give myself during university is: