Ignite Graduate Program /

Holly Sanders

Project Engineer

Ignite your success with the Civilex Ignite 2020 Graduate Program.

Civilex prides itself on recruiting high-calibre talent across its business. We know every graduate possesses their own unique set of skills and experiences, and that’s why our Ignite Graduate Program is made up of a number of core units – including a mix of formal training, assessments and activities – designed to help develop workplace competencies and ensure each graduate completes the program with the same level of understanding.

Graduates tend to work on several units simultaneously, especially as many competencies are linked to live project work and are dependent on the specific stage a project is at. But it’s not just the technical know-how the Graduate Program imparts on participants. The continual success of our project delivery teams is also due to the focus we place on leadership, problem-solving, communication and negotiation skills. Without doubt, our employees’ ability to build rapport and maintain key relationships is paramount to our success both on and off site.

Holly Sanders is one of those people.

Arriving from earthquake-prone New Zealand with a solid background in project management and administration has assisted Holly’s progression in the engineering discipline. Holly created her own pathway into civil engineering, studying a Diploma of Civil Engineering while performing residential earthquake repairs in Christchurch. But it is her astute ‘soft skills’ – communication and interpersonal skills – that empowers her to make it all happen out on a construction site.

Background Work
Holly has gained invaluable experience in a number of areas starting as a junior in data entry and moving into accounts roles while studying her Diploma in Business. It was during her time in accounts receivable that she started engaging with various subcontractors. “I realised the importance of relationship building at a particularly early stage in my career. Establishing and sustaining rapport with a variety of subcontractors is paramount to my success in engineering, and has been the foundation of how I operate.”

Her time as a department manager, following New Zealand’s 2010 earthquake, was when Holly gained a greater level of interaction with both clients and subcontractors as well as being exposed to project management. “I thoroughly enjoy the people interface, problem-solving and coordination of a project to complete a job done well.” This position honed her skills in patience and her ability to calmly manage all types of project issues and people concerns. It was an exceptional base for her step into the civil engineering landscape.

Female Perspective
Holly says that the insight and qualities she brings as a woman to the engineering discipline can be a massive benefit. “Women can offer a different approach to communication which is an advantage in being able to successfully navigate the ins and outs of priorities within a multifaceted project. It’s all about having strong communication skills, building relationships and remaining calm in highly complex environments, whilst dealing with a multitude of challenges at once.”

Project Engineering
Since deciding to have a change of scenery, leaving her home country of New Zealand and jumping across the ditch, Holly has landed firmly on her feet at Civilex and is enjoying the projects and the people. “It’s so welcoming to have the same camaraderie here at Civilex that I had back home. I’m loving working here.”

Holly’s first engineering role at Civilex was the Dynamic Signage project at Melbourne Airport where she was responsible for traffic management, stakeholder engagement and subcontractor management. Civilex had a large team of engineers and site workers – as well as subcontractors – working together to successfully deliver the Dynamic Signage project. “The Civilex team really came together during the construction phase when it was all-hands-on-deck and schedules were tight. It generated an energetic team environment for such a large project.”

Now she has been allocated to a new project on the Melbourne docks as a Project Engineer. “It will be the largest project I’ve ever worked on and I’m really looking forward to the variety of work and challenges it will offer – not to mention the great team that I get to work alongside!”