A day in the life of...

Stories from people that are actually carrying out some of these roles within our sponsor company organisations. We hope this gives you a good insight into what is on offer.

Rowan Fraser

Consultant to the United Nations, Bangkok

How long have you been at the United Nations?

I’ve been consulting to the United Nations since 2013.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An architect.

What drew you to the job you now do?

A desire to contribute to improving the quality of urban development – that is, a desire and a belief in the value of better cities.

What did you study at college / university to qualify you for this work?

I completed a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Architecture at University of Auckland, and then a Master in Urban Policy at Sciences Po, Paris.

Read more about Rowan...

How did Keystone help you throughout your studies and also as you entered the workforce?

Keystone provided incredible financial support during both my undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Auckland. But more than the money, Keystone provided a vote of confidence. The fact that the Trust saw promise in me and saw enough of it to sponsor me was a huge boost. I’m still grateful.

What was your first job as a graduate?

I consulted to the Government of France. They have a National Agency on Urban Renovation that coordinates the implementation of national housing programmes, similar to Housing New Zealand.

What does your job involve on a daily basis?

My activities in the office are different to my activities in the field. In the office, I spend a lot of time on project monitoring and management, liasing and coordinating with various partners in cities across Asia and the Pacific where we are establishing waste management facilities. I also spend time undertaking research, developing knowledge products and preparing capacity development products for UN member states and our city partners.

In the field, we spend most of our time in meetings with governments and non-government partners, and visiting the waste management facilities to review progress and facility performance.

What gets you out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step?   

Coffee.

Who do you deal with on a daily basis?

In the office I work closely with colleagues in my team. Externally, I deal a lot with our non-government partners – this includes social enterprises, community groups, NGOs of different sizes, and other UN bodies who are partnering with us to estalbish waste management facilities in the region.

What is the most challenging / rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is when a new waste management facility comes online and begins to process municipal solid waste. This means a direct reduction in the amount of waste being dumped in the city, leading to numerous benefits for the public and the environment.

What’s the best thing about your company?

Its ideals.

What would you say to anyone looking to get into your line of work?

The aid and development field needs solid, technical and talented people who are effective at creating impact. It suffers from burearcacy, politization, and ineffeciency. If you can cut through the constraints of the field, it can be rewarding work.

What skills do people need to be successful in your line of work?

Soft and hard skills. Technical skills in a particular mandate area of the United Nations is a must – this might be in climate change, education, health, logistics, trade, or in my case, urbanization. The person needs to be well versed in the core themes and issues of his or her technical area, and have solid technical backing. And then soft skills in diplomacy, team work, negotiation and communication. Patience is required.

What do you wish you knew when you were a student considering your career?

In the end, it all comes down to money and I wish I had a better understanding of how finance worked, the principles and operations of markets and captital. I should have done more courses in finance while at university. I need to upskill in this area.

What are your goals as you look ahead this year?

We will be wrapping up our work in a few countries where we have been operating for several years, and extending our work in a couple of others.

At a more personal level, I’ve been starting to look at certification in a few areas, mainly project management and risk management. These will be useful for professional development. I’m also looking at developing skillsets in geographic information systems (GIS) and in international financing. On the language front, I’ll be doing some additional acquisition work in French and Spanish, and thinking about taking on Chinese.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

I run, sail, fish and play tennis. Beyond that I read a lot of literature and party probably more than I should.

Simone Sharp

Chair of the Alumni & Associate Director, Construction Services - AECOM

How long have you been at AECOM?

I started working as Associate Director, Construction Services at AECOM in January 2017 – keeping with my goal to work for Keystone sponsors throughout my career.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

At high school I decided I wanted to be a pharmacist, I ended up studying at The University of Otago for a Bachelor of Pharmacy and worked as a pharmacist across 4 countries before deciding on a change in career path.

What drew you to the job you now do?

While living in Dublin I undertook an Associate Diploma in Interior Design with the Dublin Institute of Design, I loved it so much that I decided to retrain upon my return to NZ.

What did you study at college / university to qualify you for this work?

I studied a Bachelor of Property at The University of Auckland

 

Read more about Simone...

How did Keystone help you throughout your studies and also as you entered the workforce?

Keystone provided me with fantastic support and encouragement through my final year of study (as a recipient of the Bayleys Key Sponsor Scholarship), it was confirmation for me that I had made the right choice with such a radical change in direction. Keystone provided a great introduction to the construction industry and the people who are now my peers.

What was your first job as a graduate?

I started as an Assistant Project Manager and my first project was working as part of a team on the development of a masterplan for Botany Town Centre

What does your job involve on a daily basis?

It is all about managing. Managing staff, consultants, contractors, clients, the process and expectations. Good communication is the key to everything.

What gets you out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step?

It’s usually a friendly schnauzer wanting to go on a walk (at 5.30am!!). Once he’s awake the rest of the family is not far behind.

Who do you deal with on a daily basis?

As a client representative I am the mid point between each element of a project – client, designers, contractors, stakeholder and occupants. There are usually quite a few balls in the air.

What is the most challenging / rewarding part of your job?

There are always day to day challenges and with all projects peaks and troughs, the reward comes with seeing a great project delivered; I really love being a fly on the wall when the new occupants move in and get excited about their new space – whether it is a hospital, office or supermarket!

What would you say to anyone looking to get into your line of work?

Don’t hesitate, there are many paths to becoming a project manager. I work with ex-builders, architects, engineers and we all agree it is a varied and interesting job.

What skills do people need to be successful in your line of work?

You need to be organised, have good attention to detail and able to prioritise tasks. Above all else you have to be a good communicator across a spectrum of contacts and be able to adjust to identify their needs and work out a solution.

What do you wish you knew when you were a student considering your career?

One great piece of advice I received was not to expect that you’ll start out in the job you will end up doing, be open to opportunities.

What are your goals as you look ahead this year?

I’m looking forward to starting my new role at AECOM and can’t wait for all the challenges and rewards that brings.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

I have two very busy boys (6 and 1 1/2) who keep me on my toes, I enjoy spending time with them, my family and friends. Since moving back to NZ I’m focussed on becoming a tourist in my home town of Auckland and seeing all the things I missed while I was away. I also bake special occasion cakes for friends and family from weddings to birthdays

[/learn_more]

 

Troy Hoogeveen

Structural Engineer at Holmes Consulting Group

How long have you been at Holmes?

Four years full time and two summer internships.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I didn’t know what a Structural Engineer was! I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. Planes and spaceships, and going to other planets, always interested me…

However, realism moved my focus. Going through high school and matching my strengths, I came across engineering.

At that point I didn’t know quite what engineering speciality I wanted to do, but universities offer a range of options in the second year, which is when I chose my specialty.

What drew you to the job you now do?

Holmes has a very good reputation in the marketplace. The buildings we produce are prominent and in the public eye, and we have a good reputation as a result. I also had a chat to a few people from the company when I was at the end of high school, and they mentioned what they did, which really sparked my interest.

What did you study at college / university to qualify you for this work?

I graduated from Auckland University with a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours and specialised in Civil and Structural Engineering. I did a conjoint degree with Commerce too, specialising in Finance and Management.

 

Read more about Troy...

What did you start off doing?

The main difference from my start to now is that I have a lot more responsibility and freedom to express my own design. To start off with, there is some handholding through the design process. At Holmes everyone is here to help you through and help you develop. I started off working on smaller projects under guidance, and then took on bigger projects and more responsibility. The aim of the first year is to tackle a raft of engineering problems and then find ones you enjoy, allowing you to see the pathway forward.

What does your job involve on a daily basis?

I now take charge of my own smaller projects, working as a design engineer on larger projects too ($100m-$200m). I attend design meetings, interacting with client and consultants, taking on more responsibility for a job, and having more involvement in the modelling of a building, not just design work.

I’m try to get out on site as much as possible, which is a good way to see the reality of what you’re designing rather than just visualising it. It’s good to keep in touch with what you’ve designed as it goes up as it’s the tangible result of your hard work.  It’s very satisfying, and for me there’s nothing better than going from concept through design, detailing, documentation and to see it go up. I get a lot of pride from what’s been created from Holmes.

What gets you out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step?

Being able to solve design problems and come up with innovative and simple solutions to problems. It’s not to reinvent the wheel, but to find better ways of doing things. And the people here are a great collaborative team too, which makes it a lot easier to come to work and design things.

Who do you deal with on a daily basis?

The closest people are my colleagues, such as other design and technical engineers, and drafters – and then there are clients and consultants, such as architectures and services engineers: there is a lot of coordination required between them all.

What is the most challenging / rewarding part of your job?

There are two ways to look at it. The first is challenging design which I enjoy, and secondly what’s being built. Another challenge is when a solution doesn’t come to me immediately. That’s when it’s really rewarding when you come up with a solution that works well. I also enjoy computer modelling too, not just the design process.

What’s the best thing about your company?

Many things really. There are a lot of high quality projects, and it’s great to work with motivated people in a company that creates these projects. The calibre of engineers here is very high, which offers a lot of technical experience and support. Best of all though is that it’s a relaxed environment for us to share the experience.

What would you say to anyone looking to get into your line of work?

Take the opportunity with both hands and an open mind. There are so many interesting pathways with engineering, and if you’re looking for challenge, this is the place to be. There is so much innovation and we’re at the forefront of it. We do produce something that’s tangible at the end of the day and it’s nice to be able to step back and see something you’ve designed.

What skills do people need to be successful in your line of work?

You need to have commitment and motivation to challenge yourself. You need to have an interest in how things work and why they are the way they are, and a keen interest in learning. A side interest in architecture and buildings won’t hurt either.

What do you wish you knew when you were a student considering working life and a job?

When you first start university it’s all about finding your feet because you don’t know everything. Finding a good way to study and learn is very important. I also wish I knew what engineering companies were out there in the market place and what they offered.

What are your goals as you look ahead this year?

In the nest year my aim is to become a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng), which takes four to five years, and I want to finish the building I’m currently designing! I also want to learn how to make an engineering app which would help make a few processes a bit easier.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

All types of sport – I can’t get enough: rowing, rugby and football in particular. I also enjoy travelling and reading historical fiction.

Carinnya Feaunati

Architectural Graduate, OPUS International Consultants Ltd

How long have you been at Opus?

I’ve been here a little over 4 months now, it’s a small number but I feel like I’ve known my team for much longer.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

For about 1 hour once a year I used to want to be a choreographer – it was always the most passionate one hour of the year. I quickly got over this thanks to the “constructive criticism” of my siblings. But the most vivid memory I have of wanting to pursue a career as a child was when I used to sit in church with my sketch pad hidden in the childrens bible that I would pretend to be reading and design wedding dresses with my friend, Sam.

What drew you to the job you now do?

The influence! Architecture presents an incredible opportunity to do good in this world and although that’s a very “Miss Universe” way of thinking about it, it is so important on both the local and international scale. It was the major driver for my thesis that my research would have a tangible use in the real world and not just collect dust in the library.

What did you study at college / university to qualify you for this work?

I finished my time at Victoria University of Wellington with a Master of Architecture (Prof) and some serious resilience to stay awake for two days straight.

Read more about Carinnya...

How did Keystone help you throughout your studies and also as you entered the workforce?

As incredibly helpful as the monetary support was it was the support of the Trust to find work experience during the summer break and provide a mentor in your University City that I valued the most. Keystone opened many doors for me because of the networking that I was exposed to but it was never a case of “here, have this job” but a “hello, my name is ….I’m the General Manager of….” and it was then up to you how the rest of the conversation went. I later got an internship on site with Major Sponsor Fletcher Construction and was based on the site of the $80M Redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital.

What was your first job as a graduate?

I’m a serial bite off more than can chew person and have always held many positions at one time. Out of University I worked as an Architectural Graduate in Wellington at Workspace Architects as my main job but also carried on working as a Researcher and Exhibition Co-Curator for a international multi-disciplinary project team for a Community Emergency Shelter project in Sa’anapu, Samoa.

What does your job involve on a daily basis?

I am currently at Opus Architecture and am loving the new challenges that come with being in a multi-disciplinary company. No day is ever the same but my favourite days involve working on our highly confidential projects that seem to have the most interesting design challenges. Site visits, client meetings are usually in the mix but more frequently making visits to the Structural Engineers desks to figure out the buildability of the 6 lines that you just drew.

What gets you out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step?   

Coffee.

Who do you deal with on a daily basis?

Mostly other Architects and Engineers, sometimes we need to be at client meetings but for the most part my colleagues who form the Architectural team.

What is the most challenging / rewarding part of your job?

Being able to make designs work! Both a huge challenge but rewarding when it happens. You can then follow the progress of construction on site and see your ideas or those of your team in a built form. I am the girl who will drive you to the building and show you my staircase.

What’s the best thing about your company?

The people and groups! There is so much happening here other than work itself. I am part of Emerging Professionals Group (EPG) who hold events every month that are tailored to Professionals who are in the early stages of their career. The events are a mix of social events, mentoring and even financial advice but all things I find incredibly valuable. I am also a committee member on WIL- Opus Women in Leadership. With a similar framework to EPG the focus is on encouring women at Opus to be creative and dynamic leaders in their fields.

What would you say to anyone looking to get into your line of work?

There’s more to Architecture than being an Architect. The profession has changed dramatically as has the Education component of it and in this day and age there is so much opportunity both local and international to use your Architectural degree. Design your career!

What skills do people need to be successful in your line of work?

Technical skills. An eye for detail is necessary but like many things will get better as you progress. Something I have also found important is the ability to interact confidently with people. This relates to being part of a team and also being able to work diligently on your own and being the face to your client.

What do you wish you knew when you were a student considering your career?

It’s ok to suck at Maths. I avoided telling my teachers at School that I wanted to do Architecture because there was a small part of me that felt like I was being unrealistic.

What are your goals as you look ahead this year?

I would like to keep working towards registration. I also have been involved recently with a community group to do some habitat for humanity type work overseas. I am passionate about this work and see this as an opportunity to not only assist those in need but put my skills to practice.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

I play a lot of social sport, netball basketball and cricket and with 3 sisters in the same city we spend a lot of time together going for walks and weekends away in New Plymouth to visit our parents. I also entered a half marathon in an effort to scare myself of the prospect of coming last so I would start running again.

Paulo Naititi

Programme and Project Manager, Arup, UK

How long have you been at Arup?

I have very been very fortunate to have been able to work for both Arup and Xigo multiple times over the past five years, with international experience coming via Arup, and domestic experience being with Xigo.

What drew you to the job you now do?

After graduating I received a few job offers which could have taken me into several different aspects of engineering, from some very technical roles to more general engineering. As a large multi-disciplinary engineering and consulting service firm, Arup provides for the full spectrum of roles with a mandate for rotation; this is well-suited to my skill-set which is quite balanced between technical, general and managerial competencies. This is why I pursued my current employment at Arup.

Read more about Paulo...

What did you start off doing and where have you worked prior to your current role?

My first job in New Zealand was to help with the instalment of the canopies at the Kingsland train station, which is right across the road from Eden Park. The canopies had to be installed in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, which was quite a lot of pressure, but it was incredibly rewarding to see it all take place and be part of a landmark project.

Since then I have worked on many different projects, in different industries and sectors, and in different geographies. For example, in addition to delivering projects in New Zealand, I have worked on a number of projects across Australia, the United Kingdom, and I’m currently looking into the prospect of working on a project site in Turkey.

What does your job involve on a daily basis?

The beauty of consulting is that every day is different. When working in a project management capacity my role is to be the link between all the many consultants involved in a project. It is my responsibility to find out what needs to happen in order for everything to run smoothly. Essentially, I am the glue that holds the project together! In contrast, I sometimes work in a specialist consulting capacity and have been engaged as a financial analyst, workflow modeller, resource analyst; it really is a great job for bringing variety to your work experience.

What gets you out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step?                                                                                                                                             

I would like to think everybody is in pursuit of doing meaningful work. When working in the built environment, there is often a tangible product resulting that you can see directly improving the wellbeing of others, which inspires me each day. The projects I’m involved in, 9 times out of 10, are helping the public in some way or another, which I find really exciting and rewarding.

Who do you deal with on a daily basis?

In my job I deal with a variety of stakeholders. From engineers to architects, clients and builders, other consultants, as well as on occasion having to interact with the general public. This adds a lot of variety to my job, as I’m learning things from people in all different industries, disciplines, and backgrounds, which I find really exciting.

What is the most challenging / rewarding part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is dealing with all the different, and often competing, agendas. My clients want the best value for their money, while the builders often have practical restrictions and variables the clients don’t understand, and it’s my job to be fair and reasonable and try to keep everyone happy. It takes a lot of patience and an interpersonal skills, which I’m developing on a daily basis.

What’s the best thing about your company?

At Arup, I have exposure to many amazing projects around the world, as well as equally amazing people. This exposure drives an aggressive learning curve, which I think is the best thing about Arup.

What would you say to anyone looking to get into your line of work?

The main thing would be don’t be put off by not having the right educational requirements to get into project management and general consulting. If you’re a good leader, an excellent communicator, intelligent and have the ability to understand people, you can do it.

What skills do people need to be successful in your line of work?

Leadership is crucial. You also need to be decisive and logical, with a high level of emotional intelligence, so that you can understand what all the different people involved want and need.

What do you wish you knew when you were a student considering your career?

I probably would like to have known how integral business and finance is with the built environment and the projects that are undertaken. With this information in hand I would have been inclined to conjoint my engineering education with a degree in finance.

What are your goals as you look ahead this year?

Having recently sat the General Management Admissions Test (GMAT), this year is all about undertaking appropriate due diligence on reputable business schools with a view of enrolling in a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). I’m working in the UK on a fixed term visa, which means I need to make decisions shortly with regard to my relocation to work, study or do both.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Sports! All different types of sports. Sometimes work can be quite stressful, and I believe sports adds balance to your life, so I play in the social touch rugby team at Arup, as well as go to the gym in the weekends, and I also play basketball.

Curtis Harrison

Quantity Surveyor at Rider Levett Bucknall

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A professional sports star – but when I realised it wouldn’t happen I chose something more realistic. I’ve always been into property development and investment, and interested in the costing aspect of it in order to determine feasibility of a project. So I’ve been interested in property and construction since the beginning of my teen years.

What did you study at college / university to qualify you for this work?

I received a Bachelor of Construction degree with a major in Construction Economics at Unitec, which is an elaborate term for Quantity Surveying. I did two years of full-time study, then two years part-time while working full-time

Read more about Curtis...

What does your job involve on a daily basis?

I have been at Rider Levett Bucknall for just over two years. My job currently consists of post-contract servicing and estimating, which are my two main tasks.

Post-contract servicing is managing the budget of a construction project for a client once awarded to a successful bidder. Some of the tasks involved include assessing variations, monthly payments valuations to project managers or the engineer to contract, monthly cost reports to clients, monthly client meetings, weekly site meetings, responding to client requests, and providing estimates for design / scope changes.

Estimating is pre contract, i.e. before a contract is awarded to a successful tenderer. It involves estimating the cost of a construction project, which is generally prepared at each design stage to ensure that the budget is sufficient as the project develops. Should an estimate cost exceed agreed limits, we provide value management services to bring it back within budget.

Although I like both parts of the job, I like the estimating side the best. If I could choose a path, it would be estimating. Note there are other areas of private quantity surveying however at present, Post Contract Servicing and Estimating are my main two tasks.

What gets you out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step?

The array of projects I work on and the challenges within each of them, plus the diverse range of knowledgeable people I get to work with.

I also like the transferability of the profession, you can work basically anywhere in the world.  . Maybe I will in the future someday – although I’m happy here doing what I’m doing!

Who do you deal with on a daily basis?

People: Clients, Project Managers, Contractor Quantity Surveyors – I’m always liaising with them to agree costs

Within RLB, we have a team structure, with about seven or so Auckland teams. There is a team leader for each and we report to them. In my team, there are five people including the team leader.

What’s the most challenging / rewarding part of your job?

Managing multiple projects simultaneously. The number of projects you look after   often depends on the size of the project. For an $80m-$100m project you’d usually manage one, two or three projects. For smaller projects, you can manage anywhere between four to ten projects. At present, I’m working on four decent-sized projects and three smaller projects. There are deadlines for each, so managing time well is important.

The satisfaction of completing a project within or under budget is the most rewarding: that’s our job!

What’s the best thing about your company?

Rider Levett Bucknall is a great company to work for and is team building at its best. Everyone supports one another, distributes work evenly, and there are supportive directors and leaders. There are also incentive rewards for success via remuneration or events.

What would you say to anyone looking to get into your line of work?

I’d say if you are into construction and managing cost and time well, it is a rewarding and exciting profession to be in. The remuneration is good and it is always interesting.

What skills do people need to be successful in your line of work?

Cost management is a biggie and time management is also important vital.  Good literature and writing skills are essential because we are always communicating directly with clients.

What do you wish you knew when you were a student considering working life/job?

The main one is: not to stress about acquiring experience and knowledge. Rider Levett Bucknall taught me from the ground-up. I worried about experience and not knowing what to do in my first week and it wasn’t necessary. University gives you a good grounding for your career, however work teaches you how to go about things.

What are your goals as you look ahead this year?

Basically, I am continuing to gain experience, continuing to learn how to be more cost-effective commercially by finishing tasks quicker, and putting my hand up when the company needs something. Other goals I have are to learn different construction methodologies and become a better estimator.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

A lot of sport – golf in particular, as well as rugby and socialising. Although I work hard, I still like to socialise! We have a good bunch of people here who do a lot of team building and socialising too. There are quite a lot of younger people, so for me it’s a great environment to be in. I really enjoy it and I’m happy with the choices I made to be here.

Alex Wu

Assistant Project Manager at The Building Intelligence Group (TBIG)

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a fireman or a skydiver. When you’re young, you have little direction. As you mature you begin to get a feel for your niche and what you’re good at.

I enjoyed property because there were so many different facets to it. I wasn’t sure where to start, so I got into property management for two years. I then developed more of a feel as to what I truly enjoy, so I re-educated myself and made the change to project management in 2010.

What did you study at college / university to qualify you for your job today?

I spent four years at Auckland University and completed a double degree; Bachelor of Property / Bachelor of Commerce. When I returned to study I spent two years at Unitec and completed a double diploma, New Zealand Diploma in Construction Management / Quantity Surveying concurrently. When you get an opportunity to return to study you really knuckle down and make the most of it!

Read more about Alex...

What drew you to the job you now do?

Studying property at Auckland University is unusual as the degree does not offer a major. The degree is structured to allow you to get a feel for the variety and then in two to three years you can then specialise.

It wasn’t until I got into the workforce that the construction skill set came into play. It became apparent to me that I need to up-skill in order to get into project management.

What does your job involve on a daily basis?

I have been in this role since October 2012 – nearly two years.  It’s a difficult role to describe at times. No two days are alike, as you are consistently working on different projects. On a daily basis my activities range from undertaking feasibility studies, master planning and co-ordinating the design process through to reviewing budgets, estimates and monitoring construction.

The project phase dictates what I do on a day-to-day basis and, when you have multiple projects on the go, your daily schedule is very dynamic.

What gets you out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step?

My colleagues and the team I work with. The team and culture at TBIG is second to none and aligns very closely with my personal values. The variety of people that I deal with on a daily basis is important too and a big part of what I enjoy. This is not a job where you can hide behind a computer: the face-to-face element is vital and you must enjoy it.

Who do you deal with on a daily basis?

It ranges from public clients, private clients, local authorities, institutions, engineers, architects, quantity surveyors, contractors and developers to name a few. A large proportion of my time is spent with various design teams and clients.

What is the most challenging / rewarding part of your job?

The most challenging aspect of my job is to get the design and consultant team to all sing from the same songsheet. As a large component of project management is centred around the achievement of critical milestones, so it’s imperative that these are met. The nature of the industry often dictates lengthy periods for design and construction and the time component can be very unforgiving. It’s very easy to think that your design team will meet the required milestones, but getting everyone to buy into client’s vision and ensure it gets delivered on time is key.

I do enjoy finding solutions to problems and being able to see a tangible finished product. I’m currently doing an 11-floor refurbishment for Inland Revenue. This presents its own challenges in that the building has remained fully tenanted throughout the physical works.

I’m also dealing with various seismic remediation work for NZ Post and acting as a programmer for a large warehouse project as part of the Westgate development. As you can see, there is lots of variety.

What’s the best thing about your company?

It’s good to work for an independent and NZ-owned company. We have a niche team within Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and place a strong emphasis on hiring the right people. Experience, knowledge and integrity across the board is critically important.

We’re not considered a number here, which is great. We get a lot more of a say, so I get to deal with all walks of life within the business. Project teams are formed depending on skill-sets so you consistently get to deal with everyone within the company, irrespective of geographic location. There are some walking encyclopaedias here when it comes to project management! It’s great to learn off them.

What would you say to anyone looking to get into your line of work?

I was told numerous times during my university education and my lecturers hammered it home: start building your networks, from both a social and more importantly, a business perspective. Five or six years down the track I’m still bumping into people from university and I’ll probably end up doing business with them at some stage in my career.

I would definitely encourage anyone looking to get into project management to attend the Keystone, Property Council and CoreNet seminars that arise, as they allow you to mix with your industry peers and professionals who you will no doubt deal with in your working life.

What skills do people need to be successful in your line of work?

To be successful in this line of work you don’t technically need a qualification in project management. Many project managers I have dealt with either have engineering or architectural backgrounds with the odd one originating from the property.

Project Management was originally a facet of architecture. Provided you have good people skills and technical nous you can pick up various aspects through perseverance and a willingness to learn attitude.

My years of studying have put me in good stead, but there are many successful staff here that did not spend so long in the books. However, it’s difficult nowadays to get away with that: getting a university degree doesn’t guarantee you a job but it does open a lot of doors.

Stickability in what you’re planning to get into is good too. For me, personally, having experience holds considerable weight in relation to studying. In saying this, don’t down-play the idea of re-educating yourself at some stage in the future as this opens more doors and avoids you becoming pigeon holed.

What do you wish you knew when you were a student considering working life/job?

If I had my time again, I probably would have headed straight into construction. Hindsight is a good thing, but I might not have done it had I not got into property management first. I’d also say ‘at a young age take up the opportunity to try as many jobs as you can to get a feel for what you like’.

At university I had a go at all sorts of jobs and I would now consider that I have a nice balance of office and site experience, and dealing with all sorts of people, young and old. I’m not stuck behind a computer doing paper work all day. So I say ‘get out there and get a feel for it’.

What are your goals as you look ahead this year?

The year is fast running out however I would like to gain some noted industry accreditations, because once you get into this line of work you need to continually learn in order to progress. My aim is to become an accredited Project Management Professional (PMP), which is recognised on a global scale. This involves a considerable amount of self-learning, studying with peers and sitting an exam.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Fishing, diving and a bit of rugby and league never go amiss. I also enjoy travelling and spending time with family and friends. I strive to have a good work-life balance and TBIG fosters this lifestyle well. Their low staff turnover rate is a direct result of this – they know how to treat their staff.

Our sponsor family