This is the first job that I’ve ever had in the industry. I studied Industrial Design at University. I’ve been working for Fabmetal, a small architectural metalwork company which has been great. Over the past three years I’ve had some title changes; just recently I’ve been promoted to Project Manager. Everyone I work with has multiple years of experience in different positions in the construction industry, which is handy.
I literally had no expectations when entering the construction industry, because I didn’t study construction management or project management. Once I understood how a project ran, I could relate it back to project briefs from University. Nonetheless I was quite baffled at how intense the construction industry was. Now it’s has become part of how I run my day.
The most vital thing I learnt at University, being in the metalwork industry, was materials and manufacturing. You’ve got to understand what materials work together and then their manufacturing method. I think it shocked a lot of people in the business that I did know about materials and manufacturing.
At University you get a mock brief and you have to work through design, 3D modelling and construction. At work it’s the same principle, just on a much larger scale. You also need to be able to solidly communicate ideas. In any industry, communication is vital. Completing presentations to multiple professionals and one-on-one consultations with tutors, was critical in developing my communication skills.
One of the first lessons I learnt, was document everything. Have everything in writing. If you get word of mouth from people, or it was a verbal agreement, then obviously that person can go back on their word. It’s not a contract. And you’re down in the dumps due to it.
Working on high profile projects is great. I think it’s the notoriety. You can say to people, ‘Oh have you been here? Have you seen this? We built that!’ We installed most of the facade and COR-TEN steel to the Melbourne Aquarium. I think that when you see the project from start to finish, it’s really rewarding. Especially seeing metalwork in theory on a piece of paper and then seeing it come to life in reality. I really like working for the tier one builders because it enables you to gain experience from world class contractors. I have learnt so much from recent tier one builder projects that Fabmetal has been involved with.
I’d definitely have to say I’m a take-it-as-it-goes person. Sometimes I look into the future and think ‘Where would I want to be in five years?’’ but then I get so stressed, because I’m not even half way there. I play it by ear mainly. Take each day as it comes. Be grateful to have a job and to have a healthy life with friends and family. Having said that, it’s important to have goals too. I also love to talk (if you haven’t noticed)! I love having fleeting chats with people and getting to know people more intimately. Networking is great within the construction industry too; people of all different walks of life and experiences can give you a world of knowledge, not to mention open future doors.
I’m a big fan of lists. I have a list in my diary of all the items that I have to complete that day as well as any that weren’t completed the previous day. I rewrite the list daily because it tends to stick in my mind. There are a lot of things I used to forget, because I didn’t write them down. Prioritising items on my list is key. My productivity is somewhat reliant on my list. It’s so gratifying when I get to cross something off as complete!
I love going on site because you get to see what’s going on, what works are being installed and how quickly the program is moving. You also get to know the people you are consulting with, the architects, builders and other subcontractors. I have never had major issues on site as a female. You know, you don’t start off a conversation by swearing at someone, or with a cheap derogatory joke. At times, the language used on site leaves a lot to be desired. Over time it will change, in the meantime I’ll stay thick skinned!
My boss is really good at noticing what is being done and really appreciates that I’m organised and have everything running smoothly. He’s an advocate for women in this industry. When we were looking for another graduate, he really wanted to employ another woman, however hardly any females applied for the job. It’s definitely not a glamorous job but it has its perks.
The major hurdle I’ve encountered is being recognised for the work that you do as a young professional. Being recognised for what you do and what you achieve within the industry goes a long way. Encouragement helps. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. It drives you to do better. If someone says, ‘You’ve done this well, but you should improve on “this”,’ then you’ll learn from it. It’s really beneficial to take on constructive criticism and to try and achieve greater things every time.
I think we can combat gender diversity through advocation. Women helping women within the industry. Promoting jobs to females, advising women to apply themselves and see what happens. Just like men, there will be women that aren’t cut out for it, but no doubt it was worth the shot. Any experience, is good experience. Everyone is bound to fail at some point, as long as you learn from it. The more women in the industry, the better it will become.
I like to relax by playing a lot of sports. I play a fair bit of netball and basketball. I am motivated by team environments. Sometimes, I try and get away. Our family has a beach house, so I often go there for a weekend and wind down. I like a good chat… nothing related to work! Generally I think listening to music really helps too, or just getting outdoors. We were dog sitting a dog for a month, Jack, so I’d go home and take him for a run. Essentially anything that gets my mind focused on something other than work and stress, helps me relax. Oh and food, food fixes everything.
My mother always told me to clean my room. When I was a child, she would absolutely dig into me because my room was a mess. Just for the record, I’m pretty clean now. Mum’s always been one to say, or should I say, sigh ‘You are who you are.’ My theory is; if people don’t like you there’s not a whole lot you can do about it, don’t change yourself to suit someone else, just get out there and try your best at anything you do. I believe if women apply themselves they achieve great things. Look at the late Joan Kirner for inspiration. Look at the women kicking goals all around you.
Our rendezvous with Georgia took place at MoVida Next Door over a glass of red. Always in for some Spanish charm, imported cheese and tapas. Georgia exudes confidence and enthusiasm for her work life. She displays a bubbly charm most can’t resist. We both met Georgia during the construction of the Melbourne School of Design project. She struck us as exactly the kind of young woman this industry needs. Savvy, organised, efficient, and with a critical eye for detail. It’s refreshing to sit around and talk with someone who has a well thought opinion. We know Georgia is going to go on to achieve great things. We hope you enjoyed our snapshot of this fabulous woman.