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Bielby Undergraduates Complete Constructionarium Australia Program

For the past eight days, Bielby Holdings, Elian Ware, and Jayden Smith joined 14 other undergraduate and early-stage career professionals as part of the latest Constructionarium Australia cohort undertaking an intensive theory and practical training program.

The program takes participants through a complete project build from tender to completion, as they work as a team to deliver a replica 30m long, 4-tonne Story Bridge at The Construction Training Centre in Salisbury.

We caught up with Elian and Jayden to find out more about their participation and how they enjoyed their time with Constructionarium Australia.

Elian Ware

Elian Ware is an Undergraduate Site Engineer who has spent the last eight months working on the Everton Park Link Road Project, where he is working towards project completion in the coming months.

What did you enjoy most about Constructionarium Australia?

Constructionarium really gave me a broader picture of the construction industry. Having only experienced the day to day life of a site, I wasn’t aware of the community interlinking the industry where various companies, although fighting for the same jobs and projects, have to work together to maintain sustainable businesses. Seeing and talking to all these industry professionals at the QMCA awards, at the BBQ on Wednesday, and also the panel on Friday made me feel a part of this community. It inspired me as to what I could become in the future.

What challenged you most about Constructionarium Australia?

Being pushed into the deep end and out of my comfort zone. I was appointed the project manager for the Thursday (the 3rd day of construction) and was in charge of ensuring that we had completed the job, ready for the handover on Friday. We managed to complete the job on time; however, it was a challenge. Also, being introduced to so many industry professionals and learning to network with them, I found quite a new experience and was like nothing I’d ever done before.

What help do you think Constructionarium Australia participation will be in your career/studies?

The main component I will take away from this experience is the emphasis on using soft skills in the industry and how much I developed them in those eight days. Talking to subcontractors/clients to maintain relationships is almost more important than hard skills, and I will use this knowledge in my ongoing career.

Would you recommend taking part in a build to other students/professionals?

Absolutely, meeting all these different people from different companies with all sorts of different experience gave a taste of the industry and the group I worked with got along very well. You learn a lot during the eight days of taking a project from inception through to handover.

Networking is also a huge component of this build and is very nicely integrated into the eight-day schedule; you will meet a wide range of people who are eager to talk to young professionals regardless of their high positions in the industry and busy schedules.

Harry, Jason, and Alex, and all the individuals for lunch & learns were all very inclusive and very passionate about the whole build and always ready to take questions and give advice. Harry was great at pushing us all out of our comfort zones and put us in positions where we would learn the most.

Jayden Smith

Jayden Smith has spent the last ten months with Bielby as he completes four years of Civil Engineering studies at QUT. Currently embedded at head office, he works with the precontracts team on bids for projects across Queensland.

What did you enjoy most about Constructionarium Australia?

The aspect I enjoyed the most was learning the full cycle of how a project comes to fruition. Seeing the Story Bridge build start as a bundle of drawings with a team of people who had never met, to completing the project under time and under budget was definitely a highlight to me.

What challenged you most about Constructionarium Australia?

The most challenging part of Constructionarium was being delegated the role of Project Manager on the first day of construction. At this point, the team was still unsure about each other, and from the very start, the holes in our tender began to show. Our tendered efficiencies and the use of assumptions throughout the tender caused many problems for me as the project manager. For example, due to a short two-day tendering time, our lift plan hadn’t considered in which order the prefabricated panels were placed on top of one another.

The fact that this had not been considered during the tender phase caused mass downtime for the crane crew, costing us valuable time and money whilst a new strategy was developed. However, I feel like I learnt the most through these challenges; it highlighted to me the importance of the tender phase and the level of detail that is required on-site to ensure a project runs smoothly.

What help do you think Constructionarium Australia participation will be in your career/studies?

Constructionarium has allowed me to build a variety of new skills. As part of the tendering team for Bielby, it has given me a new perspective for the level of detail required on-site from a cost and program point of view. It has also allowed me to network with peers at the same stage in our careers as well as people at the top of the industry. Being given the opportunity to attend a QMCA event was a highlight and allowed me to develop the ‘soft skills’ of networking by talking to industry professionals.

Something that I have come across through my time at Bielby is the involvement of Indigenous Companies in tenders, which was also a topic covered throughout Constructionarium. Alex Ibarra gave a presentation on Indigenous Culture and was incredibly moving for me.

Until now, I had never fully understood the importance or role it had in our society, but Alex explained it in a way that made sense, and he was also extremely open to further discussion. Having someone you could ask at any time, any question without judgement, was extremely helpful, allowing me to grasp the concepts he presented. We even had a one-on-one chat whilst I was doing Traffic Control on-site for a length of time, and I found that I learnt the most from him in that environment. The inclusion of Indigenous Culture is something that is still very new in the Construction Industry, and I believe in the next 5 years, it will become more prevalent. I am grateful that I have been exposed to it now throughout the duration of the Constructionarium course to prepare me for the future.

Lastly, the Lunch and Learns (which run at lunch all eight days by professionals) have taught me the importance of developing myself professionally as well as ensuring that I look after myself mentally and enjoy what I do as an Engineer. This is not something that I would usually consider at work, but Constructionarium has taught me that it should be at the top of my priorities.

Would you recommend taking part in a build to other students/professionals?

Definitely. No matter what stage you are at in your career, I can guarantee that Constructionarium will teach at least one aspect that will make it worthwhile.

The group of 16 that went through this course at the same time as I were not just Undergraduates.

The team ranged in experience from students to older professionals with up to 20 years of experience who were further developing their skills or taking on a new role. Every participant mentioned they had gained a plethora of new knowledge in their respective fields. This course doesn’t just cover the technical skills required by an engineer. It also teaches the ‘Soft Skills’ that are far more important when working towards a Project Management position or beyond. All in all, this course has definitely opened my eyes to what skills I need to work on to progress my career to where I want to be, and I believe it will for others too.

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