There are many ways to carve out a career, and if you’re curious about the efficacy of graduate programs, look no further than Jack Ison.
GEOCON’s senior development manager started as a cadet and helped shape the company’s graduate program over several years.
The 12-month program has evolved to meet the changing needs of graduates, but the aim is the same.
“The ultimate goal is to develop these cadets into future development managers, project managers, site managers and so on,” he says.
“I am just one success story here; GEOCON allowed me to develop into multiple roles to ultimately get to my dream job.
“We have a lot of staff who’ve come through the program and grown into the more senior roles they’re in right now. It’s an opportunity to grow and evolve.”
Jack credits the program’s success rate to the size and scope of GEOCON’s operations, which place it in the position to give graduates well-rounded exposure to various parts of the business.
“That’s the upside to a graduate program structure with GEOCON – no matter which cadetship stream you’re working in, you’ll have broad exposure to business unit sales, development, and finance, and get to collaborate with industry specialists with relevant experience,” he says.
“Our graduates have the opportunity to run through modules within the different business units in GEOCON, from construction to development, marketing to management, finance and so on.
“Regardless of which stream they pursue, there are definite benefits to understanding how each of the company’s units works.”
GEOCON’s graduate program offers five streams, each with its own career trajectory. Cadet project engineers work towards becoming project managers, building cadets grow and develop into site managers, development cadets become development managers like Jack, and both the finance and architecture cadets can branch out into numerous areas of the business.
Graduates get hands-on experience in multiple disciplines, including design and procurement, site coordination (including quality and safety), programming, cost planning, site supervision and project completion.
As part of their internal training, graduates get exposure to some of Canberra’s most ambitious large-scale projects.
To round off the experience, they also work alongside various third-party partners, often going offsite to visit subcontractors and suppliers to better understand the ins and outs of their contribution to projects.
For example, they may learn more about concrete and plant from industry titans Boral or visit local experts Capital Veneering to observe joinery manufacturing and how kitchens are built offsite.
“Building cadets or even development cadets will be working with these kinds of people, so it’s beneficial for them to go out to their sites and understand how they build things and how their businesses are run, so they can better do their jobs,” Jack says.
It’s a method that’s working for Construction Cadet Tania Georges.
While a project management role is the ultimate goal, she’s enjoying the journey.
“I’m really happy with how I’m going and the pace at which I am learning,” she says.
“GEOCON has been really good providing lots of opportunities to explore the different aspects of the business.
“The project I’ve been assigned to hasn’t started yet, but I’m already getting out on site once a week – nowhere else would I have that opportunity to step away from my actual role to do site walks, talk to other cadets and experts, and really take in what will essentially be my job in the future.
“Project management might be the ultimate goal, but I’m in no rush to get there.”
For more information about the graduate program, visit GEOCON.