Maare-Liis: inspired to be a woman in construction
Building Cadet, Construction
Maare-Liis Kalamae joined Watpac in 2016 as a Building Cadet while studying Construction Management. When she was exploring the possibilities of a cadetship, Maare-Liis said she was adamant that she found one with a company that fostered a positive culture and also supported women within the industry.
“My father, a design manager, told me he had worked with competent, energetic and switched-on female engineers on multiple Watpac projects and set up a meeting with one of these women to discuss what it was like to be a woman in construction,” says Maare-Liis.
“She had nothing but praise for Watpac and their support of women – this meeting confirmed that Watpac was the right choice for me.”
Watpac continues to provide different opportunities and responsibilities in Maare-Liis’ cadet role, as well as support and encouragement. Through her cadetship with Watpac, Maare-Liis has experienced many different areas of construction such as tendering, costing, measuring, managing people and safety.
“Despite having much less experience than most of my colleagues, I’ve never felt less equal as they understand the cadet learning experience,” she says.
“Being part of Watpac’s Cadet and Engineer Peer Groups has been a highlight of my role at Watpac.
“I’ve had the opportunity to meet most of my colleagues within the NSW business to share knowledge and form friendships, toured various sites around Sydney, and attended presentations from amazing guest speakers with my fellow cadets.”
Maare-Liis says attending National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) events has also been a highlight for her.
“It’s so inspiring to meet the leading women of the industry and have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with them,” she says.
“I’ve made many connections through these events and hope one day soon I can join the NAWIC committee.”
Honoured to work for Watpac and proud that they have proven to be a company that genuinely champion their values, Maare-Liis says commitment, inspiration, candour, one team and innovation are exemplified everywhere she goes and are truly embedded within the culture.
“The most rewarding part of working at Watpac has been meeting such fantastic people.
“Everywhere I go with Watpac, any new projects or events, I leave having made new friends and colleagues that I can’t wait to work with in the future.”
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Maare-Liis on site at Ryde Garden with the Design Coordinator at the start of the job.
Caleb: From Tradie to Site Engineer
Site Engineer, Construction
Prior to joining Watpac in 2012, Site Engineer Caleb Peachey worked as an electrician and then studied Construction Management at university as a mature age student.
Beginning his construction career as a Building Cadet with Watpac, Caleb said it was the One Central Park project that initially drew him to the business, as well as the people and the opportunity to learn.
Caleb says the projects he has worked on over the past five years have helped shape his career with the Group.
“The two projects I have worked on, One Central Park/Park Lane and York & George, have both been steep learning curves, especially York & George due to its complex nature and constraints being in Sydney’s CBD,” Caleb said.
“Having progressed into a Site Engineer role, I am now responsible for the delivery of all service items at York & George such as planning, adherence to specifications and drawings, and commissioning of all plant and equipment.”
“I believe that the combination of skills I learned from my trade as well as what I have gained through university and on the job with Watpac have really helped with my current role.”
Caleb acknowledges the importance of workplace relationships when working towards career goals.
“Relationships with my line managers and mentors have helped advance my career development and given me the opportunity to broaden my skills and knowledge in construction,” he said.
“One way this is achieved is through regular meetings with my managers and mentors to help increase my understanding of site issues and to learn how I can better manage these.”
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Anthea: Building a strong network
Business Development Manager, Construction
The opportunity to take a new career path drew Business Development Manager Anthea Savidis to Watpac.
Anthea joined the Group nine years ago shortly after the Victorian business commenced operations, and at a time when she was keen for a different role.
“Having worked in design management for 10 years, I was keen to transition into a business development role – Watpac provided this opportunity," Anthea said.
“I was also attracted to the exciting prospect of working front-end on the evolution of a new business in the Victorian market."
Initially sharing her time between the Design Manager role, the first for the business, and business development, Anthea now focuses entirely on business development with the occasional bid manager role on design-led tenders.
“My career has changed over the years due to Watpac's growth into new markets and the ever-increasing value and complexity of the projects that we tender," she said.
“Also, the diversity of sectors we work in means I am continually being challenged in my role."
The steps Anthea has taken to achieve her career goals include forming tight-knit networks and always being willing to say yes.
“Networking is critical to my role but there is also value in having a group of contacts you can rely on for technical and professional advice," she said.
Participation and maximising opportunities to interact with others have also helped shape Anthea's career at Watpac.
“We are a diverse and inclusive business, and there are plenty of ways to get involved such as through sporting teams, charity events, the graduate mentoring program, and interaction with universities and industry associations," she said.
“By taking advantage of these opportunities, I have expanded my industry network and raised the Group's profile, as well as my own within the industry."
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Liam: Building a statisfying career one step at a time
Commercial Manager QLD, Construction
Construction Queensland's Commercial Manager Liam O'Rourke joined Watpac as a Building Cadet 20 years ago.
Liam was first drawn to Watpac as it provided him with the opportunity to work on large, high profile projects as well as being a workplace that valued people.
“The first project I worked on was the Princess Alexandra Hospital Central Energy Building, and it was through this that I discovered how diverse a career in construction could be,” Liam said.
“I was provided guidance, support and latitude to learn an enormous amount through this role.”
Liam also identified that the business side of construction held the greatest appeal for him, and he was supported in moving into a Contracts Administrator role.
Since then, Liam has transitioned into different roles including Senior Contracts Administrator, Commercial Manger for Civil & Mining in Queensland, Contracts Manager (assisting the Commercial Manager), and now Commercial Manager for Queensland’s Construction business.
Liam attributes his successful transition into new roles as a combination of taking one step at a time and knowing when to say yes.
“Before stepping up into a new role, I always ensured that I had reached a level of confidence and competence in the preceding role,” he said.
“Being sufficiently brave to have a crack at something new, as well as being ok with being uncomfortable while tackling new challenges has resulted in a thoroughly satisfying career.”
These experiences inform Liam’s advice to others who seek to advance their careers with Watpac.
“Be prepared to agree to tackle opportunities when they’re presented, back yourself and know you have support, ask thousands of questions and sing out if you need a hand.”
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