Current Cadet

Donald Cant Watts Corke is dedicated to the development of tomorrow’s leaders.


Isabella Di Nardo - Cadet Project Manager

Isabella-Di-Nardo-Colour-web.pngIsabella is currently in her final year of study in construction management at Curtin University in Perth. She started her cadetship with us in late 2017.

Here are her thoughts on the program:

1.  When did you start your cadetship with Donald Cant Watts Corke and what were you studying?

I was commencing my final year of study at Curtin University completing a four-year degree in Construction Management. In my fourth year I felt
I had enough experience to commence work in the industry but still as a cadet where I could absorb the procedures and measures that take place in putting together a project.
It was also a great time to be mentored which I welcomed.

2.  Why did you decide to apply for a Cadetship at Donald Cant Watts Corke?

Attending the Curtin University Careers Fair, I saw the Donald Cant Watts Corke stand and thought it would be a great opportunity to meet some of the team. I previously had a positive impression of Donald Cant Watts Corke and approached Mahmoud – a Project Manager about the opportunities arising throughout the year. I definitely wanted to work at Donald Cant Watts Corke because of the diverse range in projects and its notable status in the industry.

3.  Describe a typical day for you.

On a typical day my role involves working alongside the project managers in my office. I assist in most projects in the WA sector which allows me to understand varying techniques of management. I am currently working on an aged care facility, a dairy farm, a student accommodation tower and a car rental facility. In each of these projects I am preparing reports, analysing the progress of the project and corresponding with various parties.

4.  Why did you start a career in Project Management?

Construction is definitely an exciting industry to be a part of! Having the ability to delegate and have an influence on the success of a project is really rewarding. I love watching projects come together and retaining the management aspect in an environment that’s never complacent.

5.  What is the structure of the program?

The program allowed me to work on a casual basis around my university hours which was accommodating in completing my degree. I worked 2-3 days a week mentored by Kali, a Project Manager in Perth on some diverse projects. She continually introduces me to the processes involved in managing a project. I also have a six-month review hosted by my director, Niamh. The reviews help to reinforce where I am and where I’m going.

6.  What are the benefits of the program to your future career?

The cadet program has set me up with some great people that have already played a significant role in developing career. It's provided me with an interstate opportunity with Donald Cant Watts Corke, while everyone in the Perth office has supported me the whole way. This position has allowed me to develop necessary information as a student which is a huge benefit as a young graduate in the industry.

7.  What are you enjoying most about your experience?

Two months from now I will be relocating to the Donald Cant Watts Corke Sydney office after my request to do so. The position has allowed me to hold considerable responsibility in various projects, more thoroughly appreciate the industry and meet some great contacts. I am enjoying the understanding and flexibility offered to me always.

8.  What have you found to be some of the challenges?

Commencing with no prior experience in my cadet position, I was extremely nervous in the beginning.
One of my biggest challenges was speaking out and asking questions. I’ve also found it somewhat nerve racking at times to negotiate with various parties throughout the projects I work on. Although these are aspects I am learning to overcome and understand with the help of those around me.

9.  As a young Project Manager where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years I aspire to be leading the projects I work on. Project Management is a rewarding field to be a part and responsibility is a great quality of it. I am also looking forward to the business development aspect of the industry where I’d be able to develop and secure clients and projects of my own.

10. What advice/ tips would you give to future Project Management Cadets?

As a cadet in the industry it’s understandably intimidating in your first job. I would try to remember that everyone has been in your position once before and you will definitely progress if that’s your goal. Always ask questions because construction is a field where you’re likely to learn more on the job. Lastly, embrace the cadetship as much as you can because it’s an exciting opportunity!


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