I have a bachelor’s degree in interior and spatial architecture.
I loved environmental science and geography. They were my favourite subjects and I also enjoyed the creative side of design and technology and practical side of maths too.
"Developing confidence in what you do, and your abilities can assist in development in your early career. Don’t let opportunities pass you by. Jump in the deep end and learn on the job." - Stephanie on her advice for young women in the industry.
Can you tell us about your current job?
I work for a client-side professional services firm called Turner & Townsend. We’re independent and get brought on by the client to manage their projects which means we get to work in lots of different sectors. Currently I’m working in education. Generally, you have a couple of clients, and we manage the builder and the building process for each client and report back to them.
What does a typical week look like?
A typical week is visiting your projects once a week on site, depending what stage the project is in. We do that with North Sydney, a public school we’re working on. Every Thursday I travel out there for a site visit and will meet with the client once a week to discuss the project status. In the interim, I will review the project and have ad-hoc meetings as needed. If required we go on-site again, have a design or finance meeting, see people in the office and discuss different paths and ways forward. The weekly outlook is always different. Generally, you’ll have multiple projects and tasks to keep on track too. Typically, a working week for me is Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm.
Talking to different people everyday and the variety of work. You can be behind a desk at home, in the office or on a job site. I also enjoy the breath of people I get to speak with. You’ll be talking to a builder one minute, then an architect from high-end firm followed by the client who you report back to.
Getting people to do what you want when you want it!
Being organised and proactive are the two main things. Of course, it helps if you enjoy talking to people and communicating. A “can-do” attitude helps no end because no two days are the same.
I currently have a project for a couple of regional education facilities for TAFE. A couple of weeks ago, I went up to Boggabilla, a small town in the far north of inland New South Wales, near the New South Wales and Queensland border. It’s completely remote and an entirely different territory to work in. It was really interesting and enjoyable to see another part of Australia and a change from your typical day-to-day life in Sydney!
"We support women in construction by recruiting them into different roles, which, I think, is happening more and more in the construction industry. It’s a happy place to come to work every day." - Stephanie on working in the construction industry.
What's your advice on finding out about the construction industry, particularly if you don’t know anyone there?
Starting conversations is the best way. Pick up the phone or make a visit and show your interest. People are generally happy to chat about what they do, so long as you have a genuine interest. It’s human nature. If you ask them, most people will be willing to oblige and give you a bit of insight into their work.
Construction is so big, and there are a lot of different facets to it. There are so many roles, and I’m still learning about them. So, talking to somebody – a worker, a colleague, an employer or a recruiter –is an excellent way to start, and then do your research to back that up.
At Turner & Townsend they’re very good at providing mentors to the younger staff, including myself. I started as an assistant project manager and was promoted to a project manager role with the help of my colleagues.
Mentors help you to develop professionally. They understand your projects and where you can go next to further your growth. Tarini is a mentor and a champion for me. She guides, pushes, and supports me to expand the limits of being a woman in construction. It’s nice to have some backing from your team.
What are three things good construction employers do?
- Have a great culture
- Support internal promotions and growth
- Support women in construction by recruiting them into different roles
What’s next careerwise? And, in the longer term?
Working in construction – I love it and think there are many opportunities for the future! I’d love to work in a couple of different sectors to gain a broader experience. I’ve done mainly education projects to date and it would be good to try other projects. I’d also love to work overseas and luckily Turner & Townsend have offices globally.
I’d love to work on a health project, doing a major hospital, or something like that. I think that would be super interesting and for a great cause, to better the livelihoods of the people who get to use them. Alternatively, it would also be fantastic to work oversees implementing vital infrastructure in developing countries.
I currently have a project for a couple of regional education facilities for TAFE. A couple of weeks ago, I went up to Boggabilla, a remote, small town in the far north of inland New South Wales, near the New South Wales and Queensland border. It was an entirely different territory to work in. So that was interesting and enjoyable to see another part of Australia. It was an anomaly and fun doing something different to your typical day-to-day life in Sydney.
Jessica is a project engineer from Sydney. She started her career in the construction industry by studying civil engineering with honours at the University of Wollongong . We asked her some questions about her pathway into the construction industry and her experiences working on site.
Christina is a Design Manager from Sydney. She started her career in the construction industry in a graduate program after studying Civil Engineering. We asked her some questions about her pathway into the construction industry and her experiences working on site.
Alice is a Graduate Site Engineer from Sydney. She started her career in the construction industry by studying Civil Engineering and Commerce and UNSW Sydney. We asked her some questions about her pathway into the construction industry and her experiences working on site.
Sian is studying a Bachelor of Construction Management and Property and working in a cadetship in the construction industry. We asked her some questions about her pathway into the construction industry and her experiences starting out in the industry.