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