World role for recruits who want to make a difference
IF ONE company sums up the success of the Australian construction industry and the potential that the ongoing building boom offers recruits internationally, it is Bovis Lend Lease. Bovis Lend Lease is one of the world’s leading project management and construction companies. It has a presence in more than 40 countries, spearheaded by regional hubs in the UK, Australia and the US.
‘‘ Clearly, the industry is booming, and in terms of jobs we’re not just talking about construction but the whole property sector,’’ says Bovis Lend Lease Australia managing director, Tony Costantino.
‘‘ The industry is in fantastic shape with record workloads across all fields.
‘‘ We’ve got a lot of spending by federal and state governments and also by corporates for various reasons - they all need more office space, more retail space. As far as opportunities go, the possibilities are enormous.’’
Bovis Lend Lease operates in the commercial, retail, residential, communications, industrial and pharmaceutical sectors.
It also has a presence in the growing European Private Finance Initiatives ( PFI) and Public Private Partnerships ( PPP) markets, particularly in the UK.
This business is focused on a number of sectors, including health, education, defence estates and selected Government office accommodation.
Stellar multinational clients such as BP, Nokia and HSBC are all ‘‘ repeat business’’ for Lend Lease, and the sheer variety of projects and stakeholders makes Bovis Lend Lease more than a construction company.
‘‘ If you’re looking at graduates, we’re looking for more than architecture and engineering and the other traditional feeder sectors,’’ Mr Costantino says.
‘‘ There are also opportunities for business, commerce, law and marketing graduates because project management is about problem solving and management.
‘‘ This work is frequently a mix of property management and finance, so our minds are open about what sort of people can do this work.’’
But Bovis Lend Lease is not all about white- collar work either - the company remains proud of its construction roots and maintains the standard for large- scale building works.
Key skills required include construction management, project and program management, design management, design engineering, procurement and facilities management.
‘‘ Those who would move into site engineering roles, people who are looking to move into site management and construction management those opportunities are still there in droves,’’ Mr Costantino says.
‘‘ Going beyond that, given the amount of work that is available and the global nature of the industry, there is enormous global need for people.
‘‘ One of the things we’re really trying to do at Bovis Lend Lease is to give people training here, then give them opportunities overseas.
‘‘ Engineering graduates can move into design or construction, then they can move on to their own projects and ultimately move into development - and that’s all within our organisation.
‘‘ If you look at the architectural fields, they can do the same thing: we’re very open- minded about what sort of people can do what sort of things.’’
Bovis Lend Lease is also acutely aware of the role it will play in minimising the onset of climate change.
Lend Lease founder, Dick Dusseldorp, long held the belief that a sustainable organisation could strategically and culturally commit to achieving economic development, social enrichment and environmental protection.
‘‘ The time is not far off when companies will have to justify their worth to society, with greater emphasis placed on environmental and social impacts than straight economics,’’ he said in 1973, and recruitment policies today reflect this.
‘‘ In sustainability, for example, there’s a lot of opportunity for that sort of expertise in our organisation on a global level,’’ Mr Costantino says.
‘‘ Up to 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, so people with sustainability training can actually join our organisation and develop improvements that, going forward, lead to our developments being carbon neutral or even carbon positive.
‘‘ These are the opportunities that present themselves to young people: environmental engineers are in huge demand and there’s a demand for a broad range of environmental skills in our organisation.’’
And with uniform 10 per cent growth experienced across the board in the last 3- 5 years, Mr Costantino says the scope for opportunities is ‘‘ fantastic’’ - especially if family and lifestyle are becoming primary issues.
‘‘ Clearly the issue is getting people: one aspect of a career in a booming field like property - particularly an organisation like ours - is that we can offer a lot of flexibility in career choices, not just in terms of who we hire but also how they work,’’ he says.
‘‘ The construction industry is one that has been perceived to have long working hours and to be quite rigid, with work done on Saturdays and that kind of thing.
‘‘ That’s a paradigm we have to dispense with: we need to offer people part- time work, we need to offer people job- sharing, we need to offer people flexible working hours so they can drop their kids off at school.
‘‘ We need to be able to access people who require those flexible working hours or else we won’t be able to grow at the rates we project we’ll have to work at.’’
Bovis Lend Lease also offers undergraduates entering the final year of studies in architecture, building and engineering the opportunity to work on a project within NSW over the university summer break.
The aim of the Undergraduate Program - which has closed for 2007- 2008 - is to offer participants an introduction to the roles and responsibilities of a site engineer in a construction or design role, and the program offers the potential of securing a permanent position when studies are complete.
During the program, undergraduates will have the opportunity to visit a number of projects and to see first hand how the business works and will be given group assignments to complete which will benefit the company and themselves.