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John Holland

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Bradley Wardle

Engineers as a whole are glorified problem solvers and the best way to solve a problem is through a wide array of ideas and potential solutions to find the best possible one.

What's your job about?

I am currently working to install irrigation pipelines as part of the Goulburn Murray Water Connections Project in Echuca, Northern Victoria. This project consists of upgrading irrigation infrastructure over a region approximately 10,000 sq km.

In my role I manage pipeline projects from the later phases of design right through to completion.

To achieve this, there are a variety of tasks involved. From receiving the scope of works, it is necessary to undergo a design review to understand the complexities of the works and any potential issues you may encounter. From this, materials are procured, subcontractors are engaged and affected landholders are contacted and consulted.

From the start through to the completion of construction, my job revolves around monitoring the cost, the program, checking on the quality of the works, solving any ad hoc problems and most importantly, making sure that the works undertaken are done to the safest of standards.

Because our job covers a large region, a lot of my day is spent on the phone or in the car. Some sites are over 2 hours away so travelling to site takes up a lot of my time. I spend a lot of time on the phone to subcontractors and suppliers trying to deal with issues, ensuring these problems are resolved effectively. Essentially, I try to do whatever I can to keep the project moving and solve construction issues as soon as they arise.

What's your background?

As I grew up in Brisbane, I loved playing team sports and was always incredibly keen on building things. Due to this, I wanted to be a builder; however, my dad told me I was too lazy to work outside and as such, I followed the path of Engineering (the best of both worlds).

Throughout university, I developed and managed my own gardening & landscaping business. I managed to employ some friends throughout the busy periods and was able to support myself living out of home. The experience I gained has proven invaluable when working in construction. I certainly miss working for myself at times but I don’t miss working outside in the Queensland sun, I think dad was right about that.

I managed to gain an undergraduate position at John Holland in early 2016. I was working Monday to Friday at John Holland, running my gardening business with a friend on weekends and attending university classes at nights. Was certainly a busy few months. I finished university mid-2016 and was fortunate enough to be offered a graduate position once I finished. After I graduated, I packed up the gardening business and within a month of starting full time, I was working FIFO at Airlie Beach on a small power line decommissioning project. That project lasted the remainder of the year and was a great introduction to life in construction.

After a few months back in Brisbane working in pre-contracts, I relocated to Victoria where I am currently working on the Goulburn Murray Water Connections Project.

In my short time at John Holland I’ve had a wide variety of experiences across different projects, and locations around Australia. This has given me a great opportunity to advance my career while exploring new and different parts of the country.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Engineers as a whole are glorified problem solvers and the best way to solve a problem is through a wide array of ideas and potential solutions to find the best possible one. To do this, people from a variety of backgrounds are required. Being able to draw on the unique set of skills, new ideas and perspectives of a diverse group of people helps us challenge old techniques, leading to success in this industry.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

Construction and in particular working on projects is challenging. The atmosphere on projects is that of a team working together towards a common goal. You often spend a lot of time with your colleagues on the project, eventually becoming your close friends. I am incredibly grateful that I have had the chance to do my job whilst also making some life-long friends. To see a project successfully completed with your team is extremely rewarding and provides a great deal of job satisfaction.

What are the limitations of your job?

Heavy workload and long hours can make it hard to balance your personal life. Along with this, working weekends does not help that cause. Ensuring that you maintain a healthy work life balance is important to ensure that you are happy, you aren’t fatigued and most importantly, are successful in your role. It can be hard to do this, especially when working away from home but managing to find something outside of work that you enjoy and that gives you an escape is very beneficial.

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

  • Enjoy it while it lasts! Working 12 hour days often 6 days a week, my days of binge watching Netflix on a Tuesday are definitely over. Make sure you make the most of your free time and hanging out with friends because you will have far less time once you’re in the workforce.
  • Travel! Do an exchange, take a trip to Europe. There’s plenty of time to save money while you’re working so make the most of the time that you have and see the world.
  • Work experience! Getting relevant hands on work experience while at university will set you up to hit the ground running once you reach the workforce. Especially in contracting, it is a very different world to the lecture theatre so get out and get a taste of it while you’re still studying.