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Inspiring the next generation of builders and engineers

Inspiring the next generation of builders and engineers

On Wednesday 3 May, GROW Bendigo signatory, Nicholson Construction, hosted a group of curious Year 10 students from Catherine McAuley College at the Bendigo Airport, where a brand new airport terminal is currently being constructed.

The tour is part of Nicholson Construction’s commitment to having social impact by enabling students to see building in progress and chat with the project teams on site. 

“This partnership is a live example of industry taking the lead to grow their future workforce,” said Dave Burton, Executive Officer of Goldfields LLEN – also a GROW signatory – who is working with Nicholson to connect them with schools in the region.

“Students need exposure to these types of experiences in the workplace throughout their schooling if we are going to see any meaningful shift in both student aspiration and local workforce development,” Dave explained.

Each year, Nicholson’s Conversations in Construction program provides numerous groups of school, TAFE and University students across regional Victoria, the opportunity to learn more about what a career in construction looks like from experienced professionals who have spent many years in the industry.

“At Nicholson, we are committed to inspiring the next generation of builders, tradespeople and engineers through sharing our passion for what we do; and based on feedback we know that it is an effective way to motivate and give students something to aspire to,” said Bernadette Purton, Training and Development Manager at Nicholson.


Sharing their experiences

During the tour, the Catherine McAuley students chatted to Project Manager: Alison Brereton; Site Manager: Chris Ferber; and Contract Administrator: Michael Burgess.

Project Manager, Alison shared about her journey in a male-dominated industry and how she has enjoyed being able to hold her own, despite little annoyances such as often not having access to female toilets on work sites.

“I never planned on a career in construction, but I love the tangible process of watching an empty patch of land be transformed into a building,” explained Alison.

“There is also the added bonus of never getting bored, because every day is different and presents new challenges,” she continued.

As Site Manager, Chris says his favourite part of the job is seeing the looks on clients’ faces when they are presented with the finished product.

“Getting a building ready for handover is never a simple journey, there are always challenges and frustrations along the way, but once it is done, the sense of accomplishment is great,” explained Chris.

“That’s why the key characteristics you need to be successful in the industry are, problem-solving, being observant, wanting to learn as much as you can, and enjoying multi-tasking,” he said.

But not all the work in the construction industry happens on a work site, there are also plenty of office roles and work that goes on in the background to make these projects possible.

Contract Administrator, Michael is managing all the procurement for the Bendigo Airport Terminal, which involves getting all the quotes from trades, contractors, and building suppliers in order to ensure that the works run smoothly on site.

“My role requires attention to detail, excellent communication and people skills, and perseverance,” said Michael.

Chris sent the students on their way with these parting comments to mull over: “At the end of the day, a successful construction project is measured on: how long it takes to complete; how much it costs; the quality of the finished product, and of course (most importantly) safety.”

GROW Bendigo is thrilled to have been able to be a part of the tour and share the great work that Nicholson is doing in this space.

If you would like to find out more about joining the GROW Bendigo community, please contact GROW Project Manager, Rob Murphy: or 03 5442 7816.


Who is Nicholson Construction? 

Established in 1889, Nicholson is built on a foundation of the strong and open relationships it forms with its clients, staff, contractors and suppliers.

Nicholson Construction attributes its ongoing success to its cooperative and mutually beneficial approach; open, honest and transparent communication; the wide breadth of expertise offered by its people; and the excellent relationships the company has with local trades and suppliers.  

With a focus on commercial work, Nicholson Construction has experience across government health, education and public facilities; as well as private retail projects.


Who is Goldfields LLEN?
Local industries are struggling to engage with, and ignite, young people as employees and customers. Educating businesses on how to connect with young people is the missing link to their future growth and employee retention.

Goldfields LLEN partners with businesses across all key industries to grow their future workforces with passionate young people who are committed to further education and skills development.

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