- Favourite school subjects?
- First full-time job?
- What sparked your interest in a construction career?
A combined Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science (majoring in Physics and Nanoscience), as well as a Master of Project Management Postgraduate degree.
My favourite subjects were Maths and Physics.
I started as a Project Officer at the Department of Defence.
When I started my graduate program with the Department of Defence, one of the rotations I did was on the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance program. We went up to the Kimberley region to deliver accommodation facilities for one of the communities there which I enjoyed.
The second rotation I did was with the Air Force and because of that rotation, I did three or four more years working on Air Force projects travelling to bases around the nation. My interest in delivering infrastructure and facilities really grew from there.
Due to those experiences, I ended up being in the civil space, even though I studied mechanical engineering.
One of the best parts of an engineering degree is that it teaches you to analyse and solve problems in a certain way critically. When you’re working in the project management space, they are skills you can apply to any project.
"Every day is different. There are lots of challenges and problems to solve. In the construction industry, we keep it exciting—you won’t get bored." - Loshika on working in the construction industry.
Can you tell me about your current job?
I am a Construction Manager at Transport for NSW on the M6 Stage 1 project, where we are helping to deliver the construction of 4km twin tunnels. My key responsibilities are ensuring that contractors are following their safety protocols, the site works are progressing as per the program, and the work they deliver is up to the quality standards we expect within Transport.
My typical on-site day starts around 5 am. I spend the first hour on three different activities: I do a 20-minute high intensity workout, followed by 20 minutes of meditation, and then 20 minutes of journaling and planning my day.
After prepping my son for his day, I drive straight to site where I take part in site meeting, site walks and updates from the contractors. Then I head to the office for more meetings, reporting and program assessments to make sure what I've seen on site is all good. In between, there are plenty of calls and emails. So it’s a busy day. I usually finish work around 5 to 5:30 pm. And I'd be home between 6.30 and 7 pm.
I love seeing the things you talk about during design development come to life on-site. It's a tangible outcome, and that’s exciting.
As engineers, we have great ideas for delivering the project physically, but that’s the contractors' role. Ours is more of a surveillance role, ensuring the works are delivered as prescribed in the design.
A willingness to learn and be agile and flexible is crucial. You’ve got to stay on top of your work and understand what's happening in the industry. Technology is changing how we construct, and there are always new ways of doing things.
When it comes to leadership, my style is gentle leadership. It’s about bringing in that feminine energy and being authentic. I think there is this perception or misconception that you must be macho and loud, or people won’t take you seriously. I lead by creating an environment of self-motivation so people want to be the best they can be.
"When it comes to leadership, my style is gentle leadership. It’s about bringing in that feminine energy and being authentic. I think there is this perception or misconception that you must be macho and loud, or people won’t take you seriously. I lead by creating an environment of self-motivation so people want to be the best they can be." - Loshika on being a female leader in the construction industry.
What’s changed, changing, or coming soon to make construction an industry-of-choice?
We are welcoming more women into the industry and with more senior female engineers on board, younger ones will join because they’ll see real examples of the careers they can pursue.
So, as they say, the teacher appears when a student is ready. I wanted guidance on setting up my 10-year vision and a plan to achieve it. The universe found me a life mentor who is a CEO of a company and is an exceptional leader. We usually meet monthly.
My champion or cheerleader? Whichever it is, I'm fortunate to have crossed paths with her. She believed in me, gave me opportunities, saw things I could not see in myself, and helped make things happen. Because of that trust and seeing the amazing things she is achieving, I can see what I can be, and I now have the confidence to be able to do things that I never thought I'd be able to do.
As a leader, you must be approachable, consistent, and creative—a balance of all three.
It’s advice that a wing commander gave me when I worked with the Air Force, and I’ve always remembered it.
What do good construction employers do?
"I think three things that make a good construction employer are
- Leadership opportunities and training.
- Embracing diversity.
- Exciting projects."
What’s next careerwise? And, in the longer term?
Next, I want to move into more of a strategic leadership and management role, making business decisions and influencing how we move forward. I’ve seen all the stages in the project lifestyle, and I still want to do some project delivery. I’m keen to mentor junior engineers and project managers.
Reach out to people, even if you think they're very senior. People love talking about their success stories. There’s a lot you can learn from their lessons and experiences. If you reach out to 10 people, only two might respond, but it doesn't matter! You are building a network, so be confident, put yourself out there, and make yourself known. Make the most of what you know and who you know.
One of the famous quotes by Henry Ford: "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right". I love that one because if you get your mindset right and think you can do it, you can do it. I’m a big believer in that.
Jessica works as a Project Engineer at the Randwick Campus Redevelopment. She started her career in the construction industry by studying Civil Engineering with Honours at the University of Wollongong. We asked Jessica questions about her pathway into the construction industry and experiences working on site.
Nagham works as a Project Engineer. She started her career in the construction industry by studying Civil Engineering. We asked Nagham questions about her pathway into the construction industry and experiences working on site.
Industry and Employers
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Frequently Asked Questions
You can find answers to frequently asked questions about the construction industry on this page.