My start in project management was not entirely conventional. I started in the construction industry in 2014 as a receptionist, working for architectural firm Woods Bagot. I had been living overseas and working in hospitality, so started without much knowledge about construction or building design. I very quickly realized I loved the industry and really enjoyed working in a creative studio. From reception, I moved into a Marketing Coordinator role and for the next three years I was responsible for submission management. I also completed a diploma in Graphic Design and was doing a bit of freelance work on the side. I wasn’t involved in project management until I moved to APP in 2017, where I was hired as a Personal Assistant to Executive Manager Brett Hocking. It was Brett who encouraged me to explore the PM path and I am glad he did!
After joining as Brett’s PA, I soon became involved in project work for APP’s Programs Solutions business. This area of the business assists clients in upgrading their property portfolio and building new facilities. These new, refreshed and improved facilities are enjoyed by our client’s clientele and the wider community.
As part of the project team working with our Invocare client, I was involved in due diligence reporting on a number of Invocare projects in New Zealand and regional Australia. It was a great introduction to project management and program management, and the experience set me on a learning path. Over the last two years I’ve completed a certificate IV in Building and Construction, and I’m currently enrolled in the Diploma course for 2021.
I’ve since delivered several refurbishment projects for InvoCare in Australia and New Zealand and am now managing a larger “growth” project in Tauranga, NZ and a new build project in Bankstown. Both have been huge opportunities to learn and grow, particularly the Guardian White Lady Funerals Bankstown Enhance project.
I’ve also recently been promoted to Project Manager, which is incredibly exciting! I’m really looking forward to the day when the sites I am managing at Bankstown and Tauranga are opened to the public. Practical completion (PC) for Tauranga is scheduled for December this year, while Bankstown should reach PC in March 2021.
The Programs group is tightknit and very committed. Everyone is extremely diligent and willing to share war stories and advice. Some of the team have been working together for upwards of four years together and with the same clients. The relationships are strong and we have formed genuine friendships in the group. I really like the flexibility, support and fun that we have as a team.
Maintaining and developing relationships with your colleagues and clients is important. I try to go about my interactions with everyone at work with humour and respect. For clients, regular communication is a must in this job, hard conversations should always be done via a phone call first and I try not to be all business.
While my short-term goal is to successfully see my projects in Bankstown and Tauranga in New Zealand to completion, longer term I would like to move onto bigger projects and eventually manage and mentor junior project managers because I recognise the value of good mentorship.
- Jordan Spence, Project Manager