What's your background?
I was born and raised on the Gold Coast, before moving to Brisbane to complete university. I excelled at school and was convinced, from the age of 10, that engineering was the job for me. I received a scholarship to attend the University of Queensland, enrolling in a dual degree majoring in Civil Engineering and Geographical Sciences. I completed my undergraduate work experience with an oil and gas company in Perth, before returning to complete my last year of study.
The job market at the time I was graduating was very competitive, so I applied for a multitude of jobs in a large variety of locations. Of the opportunities I was offered I accepted an Engineering role with Laing O’Rourke based in Brisbane. I have always wanted to be involved with the construction side of engineering, making this position the most logical choice for me.
I have now been with the company for 2 years, and within this time have had the opportunity to work on 5 projects, each in a different state. The Laing O’Rourke Graduate Program aims to provide exposure to all aspects of our business and as such I have completed rotations work winning, quality, commercial, rail and engineering. Now, after the completion of my time as a graduate, I feel prepared to continue excelling within the business as a site engineer.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
There are two types of qualifications which will allow you access to a Graduate Engineer position, these are a degree in Engineering or Construction Management. Completing either of these degrees will provide a solid foundation which can be further developed with project experience. If you are interested in a Construction Engineering role then the most important characteristics and skills required are; the ability to communicate effectively with a variety of people, an aptitude for organisation and the capacity to manage a variety of responsibilities and tasks simultaneously. Most importantly you must be eager to learn and willing to take initiative and be proactive each and every day.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The aspect of my job which I enjoy the most is the challenges and opportunities which arise as a result of working on an active construction site. Being present on site means that I am exposed to many different types of construction activities, allowing me to expand my understanding of the intricacies involved in the development and completion of a project. In addition to this I have found it immensely rewarding to be involved in the identification and resolution of complications which are discovered on site. These occurrences allow me the opportunity to work closely with knowledgeable Subcontractors and Consultants to develop practical solutions to a variety of challenges.
What are the limitations of your job?
The limitations of working within the construction industry are the lack of location stability, long hours and fast-paced working environment. As projects are not always available close to home, relocating during the week or for the duration of the project is a potential requirement. When undertaking a site role the days are long and often weekend work will be necessary. While usually a fast-paced environment is exciting and fulfilling, there are times where the workload can become stressful and this can be exacerbated by the pressures of working and living away from home. Despite these challenges I have found construction work to be both exciting and rewarding.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
Do your research – The types of jobs available to Graduate Engineers are very diverse. Take the time to research your options are talk to your peers, the faculty at university and contacts within the industry to determine areas of interest to you.
Don’t restrict yourself – Currently you are just beginning your career, so don’t limit your options. Apply for and consider options outside the obvious. Don’t be afraid to say yes to new opportunities, whether this be an unexpected role or the option to relocate for a project.
Ask questions – Whilst this is certainly applicable at university, asking questions becomes most vital when beginning a Graduate role. It’s true that there are no dumb questions so ask away, your colleagues will always be willing to help out!