On the Job with Jessica from Multiplex
Jessica Lee graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (honours) and Commerce, from University of Sydney, before joining Multiplex as a graduate in 2014.
I chose it for three main reasons: the structure of the graduate program, to be a part of the company’s proactive initiatives to support women working in the company and industry and the opportunity to work overseas.
How does the program work?
It runs for about three years, through six-month rotations. It is structured but also flexible so you can go through the program at your own pace. If you find your workload is manageable, there are opportunities to take on more responsibilities.
Rotating through the different aspects of the construction business allowed me to gain a wide range of technical and managerial skills along with non-technical competencies, such as self-management, learning, teamwork and relationship building.
There is a huge graduate network at Multiplex and the program includes participating in frequent graduate meet-ups and site visits, so we get exposure to other types of projects within the company.
What have been the best aspects?
Mentoring and support, collaboration and responsibility. Senior managers are quite accessible and always willing to impart advice to the younger employees. Directors make time to sit down with us individually to provide career advice. Staff at all levels provide honest advice and feedback to help us grow and develop in our roles.
We are required to collaborate with people in different roles on a daily basis, including other members of our site team, subcontractors, architects, engineers, certifiers, auditors and clients. You learn a lot from interacting with such a diverse group of people and gain an appreciation of the various aspects involved in building a project.
At the same time, we are given a lot of responsibility and the freedom to work independently. Help is always there when you need it, but a great deal of our learning involves solving problems on our own and knowing who to collaborate with to get the right answers.
The most challenging?
The early morning starts; construction sites typically start at 7am! It is difficult transitioning from being a night owl to an early bird, but coffee helps.
Any advice to current students?
Construction is heavily driven by face-to-face interaction; relationship building is the foundation. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make yourself known. Speak to company representatives at careers fairs and networking events. Ask questions about their personal experiences to get a better idea of the company’s culture to help decide whether that organisation is the right fit for you.
Most importantly, don’t be disheartened if you don’t find a position straight away – in the end the right job will find you.