2. Skills discovery

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There’s no doubt that having solid technical knowledge is crucial to all engineering and construction-related roles, but soft skills like communication, project management, and problem solving are just as important. In a professional landscape that is constantly changing, soft skills are the secret superpowers that will help you adapt to whatever lies on the horizon and set you apart from other job applicants.

Just as the diagram below shows, you need both technical and soft skills to thrive as a Civil Construction Cadet. 


Let's learn more about the skills required in Civil Construction from your mentor...

Ok, so now you can name some of the skills you'll need, let's consider them in more depth and break down what exactly each of them mean.

An overview of the technical skills

Knowledge of mathematics and science:

It goes without saying that STEM-related subjects and civil construction go hand-in-hand. Algebra and geometry; physics and geology - all of these things are used by civil engineers on a daily basis.

Digital literacy:

As civil construction evolves, technology and computer sciences will become more and more important to the role. Everything from working closely with 3D models, AI and robotics, to software designed to streamline construction and project management processes.


Understanding of safety regulations and processes:

Safety in both the workplace and the tunnel itself might not be the flashiest part of civil construction, but it is by far the most important. As engineers, that’s our job - to build stuff that’s safe and functional. 

This process is legislated and involves continual workplace health and safety (WPHS) risk assessments. That means considering safety from the moment we start surveying and designing, to while we’re constructing, all the way to how safe the tunnel will be to dispose of at the end its life cycle – for example, by making sure that tunnel cladding isn’t flammable or toxic. 

Have a look at this tunnelling safety guide prepared by Safe Work Australia. This is a comprehensive overview of risks and hazards specific to tunnelling projects, and how they are mitigated.

An overview of the soft skills

  • Teamwork and collaboration: Digital Engineering isn't a solo effort. It's constant team work and collaboration. Being able to work with others is invaluable.
  • Communication: At the end of the day, you can have all the technical skills and solutions in the world, but if you can’t communicate them effectively, you won’t be able to implement them. 
  • Critical thinking: this is the ability to look at information objectively and critically, not take things at face value, and draw judgements from facts, not feelings and assumptions.
  • Problem solving: engineering is all about creating innovative solutions. You'll have to be confident in handling problems big and small.

Activity ⭐️

Jump into the soft skills assessment below to give you an idea of where you sit with your soft skills.