Civil engineering student Aidan Kan

Around nine months into his internship with Ventia Boral Amey (VBA) in Sydney's south, civil engineering student Aidan Kan has already learned that collaboration and stakeholder engagement are key to the successful delivery of projects. 

"How we as engineers collaborate and engage with other professionals, including contractors, other members of the team and clients, is an important consideration," Aidan says. "Working together as a team and having good communication always yields the most effective outcomes." 

Aidan's internship is part of his course requirement at the University of NSW, where he is working towards his degree in civil engineering. 

He started with VBA in August 2019, and since then has had the opportunity to observe several projects up close, particularly in the tactical roads and corridors space. Whether the project is undertaking sprinkler installations in tunnels or building noise walls along busy corridors, Aidan says being able to observe the whole lifecycle of a project has been eye-opening. 

He also enjoys moving from one project to the next and says that has been invaluable in helping him see where his career might take him. 

"Gaining insight into the engineering and construction industry will help me plan out the small steps that I can make to achieve my goals," Aidan says.

"It has also given me a better idea of where I want to take my career.'

As part of his internship, Aidan is being mentored by Project Manager, Edmund Li. Edmund is also a civil engineer by training and has worked for VBA for almost three years. 

Edmund says he enjoys mentoring younger colleagues, but also benefits from it himself. 

"When I started working in the industry there was a typical "sink or swim" attitude, but ultimately this is a method I disagree with as I have witnessed too many that just couldn't cope," Edmund says. "When given the opportunity I believe that mentoring and training newer workers not only strengthens a team but is also an opportunity for self-development."  

Both Edmund and Aidan agree that mentoring and coaching are a key part of the internship process, as it provides the support and guidance young professionals need as they are taking what they've learned in the classroom out into the real world. 

The ability of organisations like VBA to give people just starting out in their careers insights into the transport and construction industries is something VBA Program Director James Bennett also sees great value in.

"Being on-site and seeing firsthand how projects are run is invaluable experience for young professionals as they look to kick start their careers," James says. 

"We continue to have discussions with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) regarding entry level opportunities for indigenous cadets and trainees as well as women in engineering." 

James says that his leadership team is also looking into inviting TfNSW cadets and interns to experience work on one of VBA's project sites to give them an idea of how their studies can lead to careers in the transport sector. 

"The more people we can offer this kind of opportunity to the better," James says. 

Ventia has a number of interns, apprentices and trainees embedded in contract teams like VBA across Australia and New Zealand and continues to work with schools and individuals in this space.