Meet Oliver: Oliver is one of our Cadets that is currently undertaking the Cadet program. A young Construction Project Management student from the University of Sydney has been making a real contribution to construction projects all over Sydney. Click through to read more about his experience

1. When did you start the cadetship at Reitsma Constructions?

I commenced the Cadetship program at Reitsma Constructions on the 19th of April, 2017 during which I was progressing through my 3 rd year of the Bachelor of Construction Project Management at the University of Technology Sydney.


2. Your experience as a cadet and what project are you currently working on now?

Ever since joining Reitsma Constructions as a CADET I have felt right at home. The friendly staff and overall environment in the office has made my transition into Reitsma a smooth and welcoming process. The CADET program is broken down into 3 rotations, together encompassing all aspects of the construction industry. The rotations include 8-month stints in Estimating, Contracts Administration and Site Engineering. I was assigned Matthew van Bentum as my personal mentor for the CADET program, which I found really helpful throughout my journey as he provided me with valuable advice and direction to help me become a better individual. I have been blessed in the last 8 months to work under Charbel Aboumelhem (Estimating Manager) in the estimating department and the experience has been one to remember given that I felt valued and was treated just like any other estimator rather than just a CADET in the office.

To add to this, I was fortunate enough to be handed a tender to price on my own that I am currently working on, which involves the construction of two New Amenities Buildings for the Newcastle Council. This has been a challenging experience given that I have never priced a job before, but a challenge that has taught me a lot and one that I am looking forward to winning hopefully!

I am excited for my next rotation where I will be collaborating with the Project Team as a Contracts Administrator beginning in January 2018.


3. What have you learnt in the program so far and how has it made you better?

During my time in estimating, I have been exposed to a number of challenging situations. From the beginning of the tender process where the documents are received right through to the tender submission, I have learnt that organisation is key in ensuring a smooth and minimally disrupted tender process. That was greatly displayed by Charbel through his unique approach to managing a number of tenders within a short timeframe, which came down to strong organisational skills and strategic delegation, two areas where I was able to learn from and improve. Building key relationships with sub-contractors over the phone was another important area where I was able to develop my overall confidence and communication skills. Learning the different measuring techniques and visualizing the process on real-life tenders has assisted me immensely in my studies as I was coincidentally learning about Estimating and Cost Planning in my Cost Management subject at University at the time.

Being assigned a tender to work on all on my own has provided me with the perfect opportunity to grasp an understanding of what it is like in the life of an estimator. This involves juggling between setting up tender documents, measuring the entire job, setting up packages for the sub-contractors, choosing the most suitable sub-contractors while also considering size and
location of the job and ensuring we obtain a sufficient amount of coverage for all trades while keeping in mind the deadline for the final submission. This experience has definitely assisted me to manage my time more efficiently while also prioritising the different tasks.

Finally, one aspect that I believe plays a major part in determining the successful builder for a tender is the quality of the submission. Thanks to Logan and Charbel’s help, I was taught how to prepare a submission from start to end. This has allowed me to understand the various requirements and aspects that the clients lookout for when determining the suited builder. Each job requires certain information and throughout my time here, I have developed a valuable skill in the use of InDesign to prepare the submission and also grasped an understanding of how to shape the submission to catch the eye of the client.


4. Is it what you expected from a cadetship?

Given that I came into this role with little to no industry experience, I believe the program has so far exceeded my expectations in terms of content learnt as well as the hands-on experience that I have been exposed to. The cadetship program at Reitsma Constructions is very well structured thanks to the handbook given to each CADET that breaks down all the key learning areas of each rotation into specific modules to help you keep track of your progress throughout the rotation. The different “progress status’” allow your mentor to grade you based on the level of completion for each module, which in turn provides the CADET with the direction of where they are heading and what areas require improvement in order to progress to the next rotation. I found this mechanism really helpful for personal development, further adding to the benefits of the cadetship program at Reitsma.