World role for re­cruits who want to make a dif­fer­ence

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Careers In Construction -

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.

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