Updating Results

Mitch Dean

I enjoy watching the project progress and seeing the collaborative efforts of the entire project team come together in reality. It certainly is rewarding reaching project milestones as a team, knowing you have played a role in reaching them.

What's your job about?

Johnstaff is a professional management service business operating across Australia and New Zealand. Johnstaff provides Project Management, Construction, Advisory and Cost Management Services across a variety of sectors including Health, Education, Research, Aged Care, Justice, Transport, Commercial, Retail and Pharmaceutical.

My role is quite diverse having had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects in both onsite and office-based roles over the last 12 months. My first role in the Graduate Program was ‘Graduate Project Administrator’ within the Construction Services team. In this role I worked on the construction of a new state of the art medical manufacturing facility/cleanroom. My responsibilities were both administrative (including cost management, subcontractor procurement, project status reporting and tracking of RFI’s) and site-based (site coordination, site safety and liaising with subcontractors/consultants to resolve issues onsite).

After completing the Construction Services rotation, I transitioned into the in the role of ‘Graduate Project Engineer’ within the Project Management team, working on a number of health projects such as a new medical research facility and a hospital redevelopment. My responsibilities are diverse and difficult to explain in a few sentences. However, they include but are not limited to; procuring design consultants, certifying consultant and contractor progress claims and variations, taking meeting minutes/ coordinating various consultant actions throughout the design phase, preparing tender documentation and attending site walks to review the status of works onsite.

What's your background?

I grew up in the western suburbs of Melbourne, spending my time outside playing as much sport as I could possibly fit into a day! I have a passion for team sports such as basketball and football, which is why I love working on construction projects, where the team is everything!

My dad is a fourth-generation plumber and growing up I spent time helping him and my grandfather whenever possible with the family business. Despite having the opportunity to work with my dad and become a fifth-generation plumber, my love for sports led me to believe my future would be in the sports injury or the broader health field.

It was only after I had graduated from school and begun pursuing that pathway that I became interested in construction management. With this career sparking my interest, I transferred into the Bachelor of Construction Management at Deakin University which I have since realised was a great decision! I began working at Johnstaff in August 2019 while completing my studies and nearly a year and half later have just completed the Johnstaff Graduate Program.

I believe it is fitting that I am now working with Johnstaff who are specialists in health projects, considering I had initially thought a I would pursue a career in health.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes, there isn’t one single prescribed pathway into this role. While it’s important to have a foundation set of skills to build on, I’ve learnt the majority of my skills since starting at Johnstaff. Johnstaff provides plenty of ‘in-house’ training opportunities and teams full of experienced professionals more than willing to pass on their knowledge and support the development of graduates.

In this role, strong interpersonal skills are more important than having a specific background. It’s particularly important to be a team player, highly organised and willing to learn from the experience around you.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The best aspect of my job is seeing plans turn into reality. A massive amount of work and coordination goes into the planning and delivery of a construction project. I enjoy watching the project progress and seeing the collaborative efforts of the entire project team come together in reality. It certainly is rewarding reaching project milestones as a team, knowing you have played a role in reaching them.

What are the limitations of your job?

Working in project management is fast paced, with a lot of things to keep up with at any one time. I spend a lot of time reporting on issues related to disciplines that I am not a technical specialist in. I often need to do some independent learning to gain a level of understanding that enables me to report on or resolve such issues. Having many things to keep on top of and coordinate can also make it difficult to switch off at the end of the work day.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student... 

  • You don’t stop learning when you graduate, so don’t think you have to be an expert from day one. This is not what is anyone expects from you. Instead, focus on being reliable, accountable and willing to learn. 
  • Take time to celebrate your successes. After working on real world projects at Johnstaff, I’ve learnt that appreciating the effort you have put in whether that be independently or as a team is really important. 
  • Don’t overthink things.