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John Holland

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Nathan Lavender

As an engineer with John Holland, my key responsibilities are ensuring that we deliver the project safely, correctly and on time.

What's your job about?

John Holland is one of the largest tier one construction companies within Australia, specialising in large scale, complex infrastructure projects. As an engineer with John Holland, my key responsibilities are ensuring that we deliver the project safely, correctly and on time.

I started my graduate program in Brisbane and within a few months, I was given the opportunity to move to Victoria to work on the Goulburn Murray Water Connections Project. The project aims to upgrade the irrigation infrastructure across the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District. The district covers approximately 9,950 square kilometres accounting for more than 70 per cent of water stored in Victoria.

Through upgrading channel systems, laying pipelines and building automation systems such as flume gates and automated meters, we are upgrading key infrastructure, saving water and delivering it more sustainably and effectively.

After graduating last year, I was given this opportunity to work on a project where we help to achieve the goal of a sustainable future for agriculture within Victoria. Furthermore, this opportunity has allowed me to develop myself as an engineer whilst simultaneously travelling and seeing different parts of the country and I am incredibly grateful for the experience.

What's your background?

Growing up, I had a passion for building and designing – from building random catapults in my back yard to designing new things in graphics at school. I initially started studying Architecture at university; however, I wanted to solve real world problems and deliver solutions that benefit society. Along with this, I wanted to see the world and have new experiences and adventures. A career in engineering allows me to fulfil this, and I can honestly say that I have found my passion in it.

Engineering is a job where you can see the effect of the decisions and choices you make. It is one of the few roles where you get instant feedback for the hard work that you put in. It is incredibly rewarding to see things built around you that you have had direct influence on.

I applied for John Holland through the Graduate Program. This involved an online assessment, a phone interview and a final face-to-face interview; I was awarded the position late 2016. I started out in Brisbane in the head office learning the different facets of the business and from there, I was given the opportunity to work down in Victoria on site delivering a project.

The experiences I have had so far in The Graduate Program with John Holland have been incredibly beneficial towards my development both personally and professionally. It will in turn enable me to progress seamlessly from being a Graduate to a Site Engineer with John Holland at the end of the program.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Absolutely someone with a different background could do my job. The way to achieve the best results with any problem is to have different ideas from people with a wide array of backgrounds. This collaboration between different people with a wide range of experiences and a diverse set of ideas will enable the solution of any potential problem as a team.

For a person to be successful in this role, the key skills they need to have are a high level of problem solving skills, ability to communicate, manage and work collaboratively with others and be able to analyse different options quickly and effectively.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The coolest thing about my job is the wide range, experienced and diverse group of people that I have the chance to work with. The construction industry is incredibly challenging but the support I receive from my colleagues in conjunction with the ability to make lasting changes to the world around me makes it worthwhile. Everyone is incredibly open and willing to help when required but will also listen when I want to run with an idea. Due to this, I’m always challenged, constantly developing myself and driven to achieve my team and projects goals.

What are the limitations of your job?

Working in the construction industry is challenging. Even as a graduate, the level of responsibility you have is quite high, and as with most roles, you are judged by your outcomes. This means that you may, depending on the project, be expected to work long hours along with weekends. The reward for this is that since construction is so fast paced, you will get to see the changes and decisions that you have made implemented around you almost instantly.

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

  • Work Experience – Gaining work experience early on is key to being successful once you graduate Engineering to find work. Even in first year, consider looking in to different research projects that your lecturers are offering so that you can gain hands on experience and can build up your resume.
  • Get Involved – Getting involved in student societies shows that you have good communication skills and are willing to go above and beyond.
  • Make the most of your breaks – Once you get into work, you’re in. Holidays cut back from about a quarter of the year to 4-5 weeks depending on where you work so it’s important to try and see as much as you can when you can