Courtney Dunn John Holland Graduate

Courtney Dunn

Australian National University
Graduate Systems Engineer
Courtney studied a Bachelor of Engineering at Australian National University

What's your job about?

John Holland is currently a part of many big projects including Sydney Metro City & Southwest, Canberra Metro and Airport East. John Holland has formed many joint ventures partnerships including with Laing O’Rourke, CPB and Lendlease.

This year I have been involved in two tenders; Sydney Metro Sydenham Station Junction Tender and Sydney Metro Central Station Tender. I am now a part of the Target Cost

Development Stage for the Sydney Metro Sydenham Station Junction project. I am working with the Design Manager to coordinate the design between the architects, designers and client.

My daily tasks include:

  • Attending design coordination meetings and taking minutes
  • Submitting “Request For Information” (RFIs) to the client from architects and designers to solve contractual queries, design queries or ask for document information.
  • Tracking these RFIs and responding back to the architects and designers with information received from the client.
  • Coordinating “Technical Advisory Notes (TANs)” for all the design packages. These TANs contain design information to inform the construction and estimating teams for costing the project.
  • Scheduling in activities to align with project milestones dates and procession dates

What's your background?

High School: Merici College, 2006 - 2011

I grew up in Canberra and attended Merici Collage, an all-girls high school. I lived in France and studied French when I was 16 years old for the summer holidays. I worked at Wendys the ice creamery and then Questacon, The National Science and Technology Centre during college and into University. During high school I enjoyed lots of sports including mixed futsal, snow sports team, mixed netball and dance.

University: The Australian National University, 2012 - 2016

I studied Systems Engineering at The Australian National University. I worked as an undergraduate at Indesco, a civil consultancy firm, in the land development team during my final two years at university. I completed an honours project in assessing the use of Stormwater Polypropylene Pipes in residential development within the ACT. This involved burying polypropylene pipes into different soil types with different cover heights, then driving a large water truck over the pipes and measuring the deflection of the pipes with a laser probe. The project was successful proving that polypropylene pipes do deflect differently under different conditions informing the ACT government on how polypropylene pipes can be used in residential development. Once I finished university, I wanted to move to Sydney and join a large company such as John Holland to work on large scale projects to get experience in construction methods, engineering principals and management. I moved to Sydney in 2017 and started working for John Holland in tendering for large rail projects. 

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes, people from all different backgrounds work at John Holland. John Holland is a very large company offering all different sized projects, with many different roles and responsibilities to suit different personalities, work life balance, career aspirations and development. John Holland has a good culture to be inclusive of all nationalities, genders, cultures and ages.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

What I enjoy most about my job is being involved in design discussions and problem solving. I love coming up with solutions to time and design constraints to achieve an efficient constructible solution. I enjoy being across the design and involved in design discussions.

I also love that I have had the chance to experience two different projects this year. This gave me the opportunity to be a part of the utilities team and then get experience working with the design manager. Both were very different roles and taught me different skills.

I also get to work with driven, enthusiastic, passionate and fun people. In John Holland and especially in rail projects I have experienced great team work and felt valued in the project. 

What are the limitations of your job?

My job involves longer hours and some weekends, while here are moments where you are required to complete arduous activities such as administration work, tracking spreadsheets, reading contracts and managing technical requirements; you have the opportunity to problem solve, learn and work in a fun and encouraging team.

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

  • Travel as much as you can while you are on university holidays! You don’t get much time off when you start a full-time job.
  • Do more than one internship during university so you can understand what you want your career to be when you start applying for jobs.
  • Study something that you want to do for a living