By Thomas Munsie (06-10)
Visiting Wesley College after being away for some years brought a feeling of nostalgia, thinking back to all the years playing sports, creating friendships and forming a solid knowledge base to build on. Returning to Wesley with life and industry experience and being asked to impart supposed wisdom on students whose shoes I was once in was rewarding and an excellent opportunity to give some advice rather than consume it.
I could immediately relate to the other guest speakers, Jessika Hames (83-89-94), Simon Jordell (90-94) and Scott Park (81-86), in both work and life experiences. Spending time in the same environment, working in the construction and architecture industries, we experienced many of the same pleasures and challenges.
As a panel we discussed with the moderator and Head of Wesley College, Ross Barron, the current macro trends post COVID-19 and the tailwind that is the stimulus in both private and public sectors. We also shared our journeys as managing directors, project managers, architects and surveyors alike.
We also discussed our thoughts on what it takes to have a successful career and what suggestions might hold the biggest weight for the upcoming generation. Here are our ten tips for those thinking of a career in construction and architecture.
1. Take Direction From Your Passions
Let your natural interests and passions guide you in what path you want to take in your career. Are you drawn to the outdoors, do you excel in math, does the thought of 3D design and working with computers for a job stimulate you? Fit your life around your interests.
2. Take Many Paths
Scott is an accomplished founder and managing director of a well-regarded home builder and construction service company. He firmly believes that you do not have to follow the pre-determined streams to achieve success. He first worked in a trade before starting his own very successful company.
3. Never Stop Learning
Take every opportunity that comes along and always be open to learning beyond school or university. Also, remember that not all skills required to achieve success are learnt in a classroom. You should travel, forge relationships and engage in all forms of education.
4. Build Your Networks
All the panellists agree friendships and bonds formed at school were the most significant assets they took from attending Wesley College and schools alike. You can meet and interact with future employers and colleagues, which can be beneficial in the future. Make sure you build upon not only your network but the support team that will help you on your journey.
5. Knowledge is Power
Talking with peers or superiors, be it casual or in a workplace setting, and comprehending the topic you are discussing can mean the difference between taking the floor or looking the fool. Our panellists emphasized numerous occasions when interviewing candidates for a role who had very little understanding of the job or the company. This failure to show initiative meant they were looked upon less favourably than those who came prepared. Being well informed for a test, presentation, or interview is invaluable and can mean the difference between achieving the next step in your career or standing still.
6. Technology is Key
In every aspect of the construction and architecture industry, there are ever new practices or technologies that can either achieve higher efficiencies or produce a better product. It is an innovative industry, and technology progression is guaranteed. It is imperative to stay up-to-date and have an open mind to new technologies and ways of thinking.
7. Commitment to Your Career
Whichever path you choose, there will always be hurdles. Each panellist has endured different circumstances and battles but can agree you should be in the business of long-term thinking. A challenge today is only a tiny bump in the road that is your career.
8. Mistakes and Pride
We were asked what our biggest mistakes were. All of us could agree that when (not if) you make a mistake, you must always ask yourself how you can improve on this next time. There is always something you can learn and improve on, so be humble along your journey.
9. Work/Life Balance
Simon made a point that echoed in all of our minds. Having a career in the construction industry means that work can become the dominant figure in your life, leading to an imbalance. There will be times when you will have to put the hard work in but always set aside time for what is most important to you.
10. Enjoy the Journey
For those concluding their time at Wesley, it may not feel like it, but your journey is only just beginning. There will be ups, downs and missteps along the way. You may not hit the nail on the head the first time around, but you should enjoy what you are doing. Only you will know what career path to take and make sure you have some fun along the way.
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