What's your job about?
BMD is a civil contractor operating in major infrastructure projects all over Australia. As a graduate, I’m responsible for the day to day running of one of BMD’s construction sites in Brisbane, working under Project Managers and Senior Engineers.
I collaborate with a large team including other engineers and contract administrators as well as foremen, leading hands and labourers to complete construction projects. I liaise with clients, engineering consultants, subcontractors, suppliers and basically anyone involved in the construction process to get the job done.
The best thing about my job is that no day is the same! A day can go from organising and managing our workers and subcontractors on site to assisting with tenders to bid for future jobs, or even heading into the BMD head office at the Port of Brisbane to go through the financials of the job.
I feel like every uni student I spoke to didn’t know what an engineer did and it’s pretty valid. An engineer is a very diverse profession. You can work on a construction site like me or work in a big office, help design the project before it’s built, work for a subcontractor or specialise in a product design or specific construction process.
Being an engineer is a super diverse profession and has a wide range of opportunities.
I studied Construction Management at University so a little bit different to my colleagues here at BMD. Construction Management is as basic as it sounds, we are taught to manage construction. We learn the financials, construction processes and health and safety aspects of construction.
What's your background?
After graduating high school, like most students I had no idea what I wanted to do. My initial plan was to have a gap year, decide on a career I wanted to pursue and get a full-time job in real estate to have a good amount of money saved for when I started uni.
With no luck getting a job, applications for uni drawing to a close for 2017 and getting bored working part-time at a local café, I decided to apply for both construction management, and regional and town planning at QUT. I waited until the very last day until I made my decision on which degree to enrol in. I spoke to a few people in both industries, did a lot of research into what each career actually was and decided that construction management was for me – and how right I was!
Studying construction management was the best experience of my life. I’ve made life-long friends that have similar interests, values, and career goals as me. Even being out of uni for 6 months, we still catch up, chat online regularly, share our achievements at work and lean on each other for help with work (exchanging good suppliers, subbies and work practices). It’s extremely important to surround yourself with like-minded people to achieve your goals. BMD’s Graduate Program is great because you have the opportunity to learn from so many other grads that are all in the same boat as you.
One of my family friends works at BMD and sent my resume to our HR department. After working hard for three months, I was lucky enough to be offered an undergraduate placement within BMD Urban. For the past three and a half years, the role has provided me with so much experience on various projects and different departments including estimating.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
I’m really grateful to have been able to secure my role with BMD. Traditionally it’s more likely you would be hired if you studied engineering as opposed to construction management. But if you work hard and have the skills to back you up, anything is possible.
Construction is a challenging industry; you need to be able to adapt to different working situations and personality styles, but more importantly you need to be a hard and dedicated worker. My job is really rewarding, I love what I do and maintaining a positive attitude, especially in times of hardship, is the key to success.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
My favourite part of my job is when the project is coming to an end, you’re over all the issues of the project (and believe me when I say issues because every project has issues – it’s the nature of construction), and you look back on how great your team did in the challenging times and everything is finally coming together. You’ve all grown so much together, learnt things you’ll take to the next project and formed tight bonds into the future. BMD’s grad program allows you to form lifelong friendships, and you’ll lean on these people in the future for help.
What are the limitations of your job?
Being in BMD’s Urban division, you bear a lot of responsibility because you are typically the only engineer on the job. It isn’t a bad thing because the amount we learn in a day is insane and we get to learn every single aspect of the project from start to finish.
We don’t work on weekends unless absolutely necessary or we choose to.
In terms of physical strength, I don’t think BMD would be taking me on as a labourer anytime soon. So, thank god our job doesn’t require any manual labour!
One of the things I love about BMD is there is no glass ceiling, especially for women. We have up and coming female leaders in our business, various Women at BMD groups, industry connections and our Urban division probably has more female engineers than men these days!
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...