What it does: multi-discipline consulting engineering
Staff stats: Around 700
The good bits: Working on iconic projects
The not so good bits: Workloads can sometimes be heavy
Hiring grads with degrees in: Engineering, Maths, IT & Computer Sciences
The Norman Disney & Young story
What’s now Norman Disney & Young (NDY) started out as a small Sydney engineering consultancy called Norman Addicoat in 1959. Over the next 13 years, the business opened offices in Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane, established its reputation with the iconic Goldfields House in Sydney’s Circular Quay and morphed into Norman Disney & Young.
That name refers to the three partners, the most significant of whom was David Norman. Norman, an engineer, was an early adopter of the then-novel concept of sustainability. He developed several new ways of introducing greater energy efficiency into buildings in the 1960s (including in the aforementioned Goldfields House).
After laying down strong roots locally, the business began expanding overseas. By 1987 it had opened an office in New Zealand and since then it’s also opened offices in Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the UK.
The company has been involved in many high-profile projects. These include the UMNO Complex in Malaysia, The Ned (an upmarket hotel) in London, the Shangri-La Hotel in Vancouver, the new Parliament House in Canberra, Barangaroo in Sydney, Rod Laver Arena and Eureka Tower in Melbourne, as well as Perth’s Children’s Hospital and the Gold Coast Sport and Leisure Centre.
The firm specialises in mechanical and electrical services. It has particular expertise in “communications, fire protection, vertical transport, acoustics and hydraulic/public health engineering”.
NDY is a proprietary limited company. In the 2015/16 financial year, the business had revenue of $109.6 million.
Around a quarter of the company’s workforce is female. NDY is a signatory to the Consult Australia’s Champions of Change initiative. It supports various initiatives that encourage women into the building industry and helps them further their careers once they are in it.
The company encourages staff to have a healthy work/life balance. It offers flexible working arrangements where appropriate. NDY is “proud to foster a workplace culture with employees from many cultural backgrounds”. It encourages staff to participate in events “that celebrate this diversity”, such as Chinese New Year Celebrations.
The built environment is the single largest contributor to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. That being the case, NDY’s long-standing championing of eco-friendly buildings has played an important part in the fight against global warming. The company was a founding member of the Green Building Council of Australia.
The company prides itself on “the way we give back to the communities in which in which we work and operate”. Many staff, from the CEO down, “give their time to support valuable causes, community groups and not-for-profit organisations”. In 2011, the NDY Charitable Trust was launched. It seeks to “make a difference to communities in need by supporting the efforts of our people and through financial support from NDY staff and management”. In recent times the Trust has backed good causes such as a water and sanitation initiative in the Solomon Islands, the ‘Small Livestock Pass-On Scheme’ in Malawi and the construction of a birthing facility in rural Zimbabwe.
The company also tries to improve the lives of those who make use of its buildings. For example, the Mater Private Hospital in Springfield, Queensland, opened in 2015, was conceived with patient and community wellness front of mind. It has a “hotel look with hospital functionality” and features “ergonomic work areas for staff, and patient rooms that allow occupants to recover in a quiet and comfortable environment”. Patients are able to control their lighting, blinds, room temperature and entertainment systems, without impacting other patients.
The recruitment process
While it’s not required to get a grad position, it may be useful interning at NDY while studying. NDY provides engineering undergraduates with “short-term work experience to help them fulfil the requirements of their academic course” at “various periods throughout the year”.
To be considered for a grad position at NDY, you’ll need excellent academic results along with a solid work history and record of involvement in extra-curricular activities. You’ll also need to demonstrate you are ambitious and passionate and possess great listening, communication and problem-solving skills and hence the potential to develop excellent consulting skills. It appears you’ll also need to have studied engineering (or something closely related to it).
The recruitment process begins with an online application where you’ll be asked to upload your personal information. After this comes a two-part online assessment made up of a general mental ability test and personality assessment. This is followed by a face-to-face interview with either a HR or line manager. The final hurdle is an interview with an NDY director. If that goes well, and your references check out, you should receive an offer.
The grad program starts with a week-long induction. Throughout the program, you’ll receive continuing professional development and technical training. You’ll do three structured residential workshops, rotate through different engineering disciplines, gain experience working with “project managers, architects, engineers, contractors and regulatory authorities” and have the opportunity to lead community projects supporting various charities. You’ll also qualify for a credit towards a Graduate Certificate in Business and embark on a structured pathway to chartered status.
On a day-to-day basis, you “participate in a number of work-based team and experiential activities”, “engage [with] and be mentored [by] exceptional leaders” and “grow personally and professionally in a dynamic, inclusive and supportive culture”.
NDY pays “competitive salaries”. It also offers “short-term incentives offered to recognise and reward high performance”. It covers employee’s relocation costs and provides financial support for “further education and studies”.
NDY uses an online performance management system called Thrive. This is a “user-friendly tool” that “communicates performance expectations and provides regular, high-quality feedback”.
As an NDY employee, you’ll have “significant opportunities to build your career” through working on major projects, undertaking challenging assignments and gaining experience in a variety of disciplines and specialist sectors. You’ll be able to take advantage of the company’s international employment program. You can also apply for short-term office transfers and project-specific assignments.
The vibe of the place
The company has six core values:
The company’s ‘2020 strategy’ is to “put our people first” and “attract, develop, inspire, reward and retain market-leading talent by delivering on our employee promise”. That means you can expect to be well looked after.
If you want to work for an employer that takes maintaining ethical standards and caring for the environment seriously, aims to be an innovative industry leader, supports work/life balance and celebrates its staff’s achievements, NDY could be for you.
"At Norman Disney & Young, our people are our key to our success. It takes a dedicated and leading team to achieve fifty years in business and it is our longevity and growth as a leading consultancy that is testament to our people and our reputation in the market.
Our collaborative design approach takes into account commercial, environmental and technical considerations to achieve the desired outcomes. Our core engineering services are enhanced by specialist consulting services including ICT, electronic security, BMS (Building Management System), performance based fire engineering, acoustics and architectural creative lighting. Our consultants are industry thought leaders and provide our clients with the most current methodologies.
Whilst our technical, documentation and consulting abilities are first class, we embrace our role as an innovator, and not a follower, of trends. We fund research and development activities in all key NDY services and support our people on the journey of continual professional development.
Working alongside industry thought leaders, our technical excellence, and our industry-leading approach to corporate social responsibility, makes NDY a beacon for top tier talent.
Our Graduate Program
Commencing your engineering career with NDY means that you will become part of a unique international team of consultant engineers. You may find yourself working with a team that design one of the world’s landmark developments, or deliver a proposal to an international panel of construction practitioners, through to working on-site with a team of engineers, contractors and tradespeople. You will also find opportunities to develop enduring professional relationships that will in time contribute to the strength of your professional industry profile.
NDY recognises that every one of our graduates is unique and your development and success is essential to our collective future growth.
We offer our graduates a comprehensive two year development program. Focused activities give each graduate the opportunity to build the skills and knowledge essential for successful career as a consultant engineer.
NDY graduates will experience a program that offers:
By developing multi-faceted skills, you will have the opportunity to become a respected member of a team of consultants who are focused on providing our clients with professional service and technical excellence while meeting project deliverables.
Your association with industry colleagues including project managers, architects, engineers, contractors and regulatory authorities, will help you develop relationships to further your career in the Engineering profession."