QS students can work worldwide

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02 Jul 2015

Team-fit, talent and the elusive X-factor is the recipe for getting a quantity surveyor job, according to BHP Billiton manager Shaun Clarke.

Clarke, a CPIT Quantity Surveying graduate, returned to CPIT to share valuable industry knowledge with current students.

Completing his degree in 1988, he has since worked throughout the  Quantity Surveying Profession. He has worked extensively internationally for leading firms in America, Norway and Australia.

 Clarke discussed his career path with CPIT's current Quantity Surveying students in a presentation on Thursday June 25.

After finishing CPIT he started his impressive career as an Associate Quantity Surveyor at New Zealand firm Brown and Associates, working on projects varying in size and complexity, including retail and office fit outs, educational hospitality and industrial projects. One such project was establishing the project office for the Christchurch Casino project, the first Casino in New Zealand. 

"This was really exciting for me and one of the first bigger projects I worked on."

He then worked for global engineering construct and project management company Bechtel and worked with international teams on billion dollar projects. He now works for BHP Billiton, a company with headquarters in Melbourne which employs 47,000 people globally.  

Clarke shared valuable information on what he has learnt over his years in the industry with the CPIT students. "Build credibility as a subject matter expert. Know your team, have good mentors and be in control of your own career," he says. "However, also balance your experience you don't want to pigeon-holed into one area of expertise. Show that you can do more than just one thing."

He gave insights into what he as an employer was looking for in students these days. He says what he looks for is a balance of team fit and talent, as well as the elusive 'x-factor'.

"The talent is what you know: your education, your knowledge, your skills and your training. The Team fit is how you fit in with a team- your personality type, your approach and your individual motivation and ambitions," he says. "Then there is the X-Factor. I want to know what makes you different to the others; what are your interests, your hobbies and your background."

Clarke says Quantity Surveying is a "wonderful job" with opportunities worldwide. However, he says the skill set learnt at CPIT is easily applied elsewhere. "The skills you are currently learning, including being objective, analytical and looking at the big picture, are very transferable. They are easily applied to other professions."