Casting the foundations for education

Casting the foundations for education

Luke reviewing product details with Brett courtesy of NVC Precast

With an increase in major project work, NVC precast has hired apprentices, trainees, interns and supported its own staff with upskilling endeavours. NVC’s employees explain how they are balancing work and study while using their newfound skills at the business.

Department of Employment projections have estimated that between 2019-2024 the number of Australian construction employees with a degree or higher qualification will increase by 11 per cent. Those with a Certificate III, IV or higher are also expected to increase by nearly five per cent.

As NVC Precast are growing in size and picking up contracts with major projects like level crossing removals, the company is looking to increase its contribution to the training of future construction professionals.

Implementing flexible working conditions and providing workers with a practical ground to train in, NVC are brining on apprentices and supporting their staff in higher education.

Roads & Infrastructure had the opportunity to chat with a few of NVC’s staff that are improving their education and in turn helping to build the company.

AMANDA COLE – NVC Precast SHEQ Systems Manager

Previously Integrated Management Systems (IMS) Manager at NVC, Amanda Cole began studying a Master of Business Analytics at Victoria University while working at the company.

When COVID hit and study turned online, NVC allowed Cole the opportunity to work from home and to have flexible hours in order to attend her master’s classes.

Cole says her business analytics course covers how to incorporate performance management, using analytics to evaluate company performance.

“I look at organisational systems, operational processes and non-financial metrics, finding ways in which we can do data analysis and visualisation to get a better understanding of the performance of the organisation,” she says.

“NVC provide me the resources for the practical application of what I am training in. So, if I need reports or documentation or if I need to use NVC as a case study they are happy to help out.”

Upskilling in business analytics enabled Amanda to change the focus of her role from IMS Manager, to Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) Systems Manager.

“I’ve learned about data visualisation and being able to get a story out of the data. We are able to create interactive and up to date reports by using open-source programming languages to automate documentation and performance reports within the business,” Cole says.

She says going forward her plan is to bring all of NVC’s data into online and electronic formats, to automate and scale their monitoring and reporting processes.

“I can use that data for all sorts of improvement projects at NVC. For example, right now we are optimising our gas consumption and usage from an environmental footprint perspective. So, we are analysing what our usage is and how we might be able to optimise our usage of resources like gas while maintaining compliance to product specifications.”

JINGWEN XU – NVC Precast Engineering Intern

In her third year of an engineering degree at Deakin University, Jingwen Xu is undertaking a three-to-six-month internship with NVC Precast.

At NVC, Xu is able to assist engineers and learn on-the-job processes while helping to monitor and produce precast structural elements.

“I help with the tender process, specifically doing take-offs for the tender projects. I also assist engineers in doing cover meter checks and I’m learning some of the basic precast concrete tasks,” she says.

NVC are supporting Xu to balance study and working arrangements in order to successfully complete her course.

“I feel very fortunate that I can work with experienced engineers and professionals in the construction industry at NVC and I enjoy working with them and learning from them every day,” Xu says.

“I like that with every project, big or small it’s exciting and there is always something to learn. I can help out with time consuming tasks but also get to learn more of the technical elements.”

MENGEZI LUKE SAYI – NVC Precast Quality Engineer

With his first degree in mechanical engineering, Mengezi Luke Sayi has now been working in civil construction for eight years and was keen to align his qualifications to his work.

Sayi says when he moved over to civil engineering, he noticed a few gaps in his education and he wanted to learn more about civil construction technologies and products. He is currently working full time at NVC while completing a Master in Civil Engineering part-time.

“NVC is very close to university and they were flexible with the time to study during work hours so whenever I need to be in class, or if I have exams, they allow me to go which is really helpful,” Sayi says.

“Working here I am dealing with bridges and then you go to a class and you learn about bridges, so it’s very easy to succeed in education.”

He says the expert civil engineers at NVC are great resources to learn from on the job.

“Working at NVC you get to interact with a lot of different people from suppliers to customers and VicRoads. So, you get to interact with them and learn from many different perspectives,” he says.

“I love that NVC deals with major projects, like casting 130 tonne beams and seeing them leave the yard, knowing you had something to do with it is a great feeling.”

Sayi has also been able to bring some of his learnings from University to NVC. For example, he now uses the Microsoft Project program, which he was taught through his master’s course, for NVC work.

“I plan on sticking at NVC for a long time because there is a lot to learn, and I get responsibility here to look after lots of jobs from  planning to delivery,” Sayi says.

“I really want to be a project engineer and if I can advance while I am at NVC and doing my masters that will be great because I really enjoy working here. The main goal is to manage a project on my own, that is where I want to end up.”

Giving opportunities to future civil construction professionals such as Amanda, Jingwen and Luke is an important focus for NVC Precast and the business plans to expand its offerings from here.

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