Finding the right career path can be a daunting process for anyone and often comes down to opportunity and experience. With this in mind, leading global contractor Multiplex has given students and graduates the chance to develop construction skills in a mentoring atmosphere on the new $139 million project to design and construct the University of Canberra Public Hospital.

In partnership with the Australian Training Company and its subcontractors, Multiplex have implemented a trainee and apprenticeship program to mentor a broad range of 10 trainees to develop new skills and receive fully certified qualifications.

Multiplex has set ambitious targets for the project, committing to 10 per cent of all construction hours being undertaken by apprentices and trainees, with half of those directed towards youth at risk.

As well as supporting apprentice and trainee participation, the program aims to give young people the chance they need and deserve.

“Multiplex has long advocated for improving the construction industry’s skills base. At the same time we have worked over many years with young people suffering various forms of disadvantage, and know that many have the aptitude and the drive to succeed – they just need the right employment opportunity to set the wheels in motion,” said Multiplex Project Manager Allan Young.

“Our program aims to address all of those aspirations while also supporting the hospital’s desire to be a centre for teaching and learning.”

The results achieved by the group of trainees have surpassed expectations. All 10 of them are set to achieve their Cert II Construction traineeship in line with project completion, with several already moving into apprenticeships or other employment opportunities.  In some instances significant challenges have been overcome.

Canberra locals Hayley Clarke and Maiah Rolle-Lieske are just two of the young people who have benefited from the trainee program at UCPH.

21 year old Hayley undertook a traineeship with subcontractor, Axis Plumbing, while 19 year old Maiah was appointed to provide administrative support for electrical subcontractor HeyDay Group.

Hayley worked with Axis Plumbing five days a week on site and received training from City-Wide Building & Training Services to complete her Certificate II in Construction.

“I think the traineeship has been great because you get the opportunity to see whether you like what’s involved in a certain trade before diving straight into it,” said Hayley.

“The team has been really supportive. From the start of the traineeship they took the time to train me, supervise and work out what jobs I’d be best at,” she said.

Hayley is set to complete her 12 month traineeship in October, 2017 and Axis Plumbing ACT has already offered her an apprenticeship.  Hayley was recently voted by her peers as Apprentice / Trainee of the Month for her attitude and performance.

“I’m keen to continue training in the industry. This has been a great foot in the door with lots of opportunities and I’ve made so many new connections from working on-site.”

Maiah’s program allowed her to work with HeyDay Group four days a week and attend one day of classes at the Canberra Institute of Technology in order to complete her Certificate 4 in Business Administration.

“The traineeship has opened my eyes to how much work really goes on behind the scenes in construction and shown me that not every job has to be on the tools,” said Maiah.

“I learn something new every single day. Everyone has been so welcoming and willing to teach me along the way. I never thought I’d work in construction but would have been happy if this had been my job for the rest of my life.”

Maiah recently began a new career with the Australian Navy in communications, IT and intelligence and she said her experience with Multiplex and HeyDay Group has equipped her with the skills and knowledge to tackle this next milestone in her career.

“I’m excited about the next challenge but also really sad to be leaving. I’d recommend anyone considering a traineeship at Multiplex to go for it as there are endless job opportunities,” said Maiah.

Early in 2016, Multiplex commenced construction on UCPH situated on the corner of Aikman Drive and Ginninderra Drive adjacent to the University campus.

UCPH is scheduled to open in mid-2018, and the new facilities will provide, at full capacity, up to 140 overnight beds and 75 day spaces for admitted patients, as well as specialised, outpatient services. The Hospital will focus entirely on sub-acute services such as rehabilitation and mental health services and will provide inpatient and day and ambulatory services as well as a hydrotherapy pool.

The new building is the first hospital in the ACT to be purpose-built for sub-acute services. The intent is to improve the quality of care while also taking pressure off major hospitals, enabling them to focus on acute services like emergency treatment and surgery.

It will also be a teaching facility, allowing for valuable practical training and greater teaching and research opportunities between the University of Canberra and ACT Health.