A Monash engineering student is working on record-breaking civil construction projects.
Lance Hammond’s civil construction work experience with CPB Contractors has seen him working on some of the largest infrastructure projects ever to be carried out in Victoria. Over the past year, Lance has been working for CPB in Melbourne’s outer suburbs as an undergraduate site engineer in civil construction.
The Blackburn level crossing rail removal project took 41 days of 24/7 work, and formed part of the longest rail occupations ever undertaken in Australia. With days which sometimes stretched up to 12 hours, Lance describes the atmosphere as “very hectic, but highly supportive”.
Working under senior project engineers, he gained experience in coordinating onsite activities such as concrete pours, as well as essential civil construction project engineering skills, such as costs monitoring, quality assurance and safety compliance.
Career-advancing advice from Monash and CareerTrackers
For Lance, who is now in his final year of a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Commerce double degree at Monash University, his journey in civil construction all started in 2016, when he was hunting for work experience.
Lance found out about the CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Program from a mentor at the Yulendj Indigenous Engagement Unit, a multi-purpose space at Monash where Indigenous students can hang out and get career and study advice. Within a few weeks, he’d lined up a three month summer internship with CPB.
Thrown in the deep end
Lance was “well and truly thrown in the deep end”, undertaking all the duties of a site engineer removing level crossings, as well as working with the accounts, community and industrial relations team.
Lance says his experiences working as a labourer and on his family farm helped, due to his practical skills and knowledge of machinery. He made such a good impression on his employers that after the internship ended, he was invited to continue working with CPB throughout the year.
Off to work
As part of the design planning team, he worked on the Westgate Tunnel Design, a project which was 10 times bigger than the Blackburn project, and he continues to work part-time for CPB whilst completing his degree.
Lance says that the CareerTrackers program spurred him on in the last couple of years of uni and that he now has a great feel for both the on-site and project design sides of construction. He’s planning to gain some accounting experience with CPB’s accounts team later in the year and he aspires to work as a senior project engineer after he graduates.
STEM opportunities abounds
For anyone interested in getting into civil construction, Lance says that you don’t need to be a whiz in all of the STEM subjects.”If you enjoy them and are willing to work hard at them, you will find there are many opportunities out there”, he says. “I love problem solving, and engineering always brings up a new challenge every day.”
Lance encourages young Indigenous students considering uni studies to ask plenty of advice from friends, family, universities and CareerTrackers. His only regret is not engaging with the Indigenous department at uni or CareerTrackers earlier: “The support network at Yulendj is amazing and I wouldn’t trade them or the friends I’ve made there for anything in the world.”
Lance’s career path:
>> Bachelor of Engineering (Civil)/Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting), Monash University
>> Support team member, Bunnings
>> Labourer, Aldig Services
>> Undergraduate Site Engineer, CPB Contractors
>> Undergraduate Engineer (Design Planning), CPB Contractors
Author: Larissa Fedunik-Hofman
Larissa is the editorial assistant for Careers with STEM and a Chemistry PhD student. Larissa’s goal is to promote public engagement with STEM through inspiring stories.