Jake was one of three presenters to take the stage at the Innovation Centre for the Sunshine Coast Project Management Community of Practice networking and professional development breakfast.

The USC alumnus was on that same stage seven years prior when he received the $10,000 Unitywater Scholarship in Civil Engineering as a third-year student.

“The graduate program was a key stepping stone in setting up my career – offering exposure to a diversity of disciplines, training and development opportunities,” Jake said.

“It was a great platform to launch my career from, particularly given I was a very young bright-eyed and bushy-tailed individual, transitioning from study life.”

The scholarship provided Jake the opportunity to undertake paid vacation work during his third and fourth year of study and the opportunity to continue into Unitywater’s Graduate Program as he set out on his career pathway and navigated his way through multiple disciplines.

“I felt the opportunity was far superior to other graduate programs on offer at the time. Working within the different departments helped to fast track my rapport within the organisation and with many stakeholders,” he said.

Jake worked in Unitywater’s network operations, strategic planning, asset management and capital delivery prior to taking his current project manager role at the start of 2021.

“I never thought I would end up in the project management space,” he said. “A really good introduction to my new role was the Fishermans Road sewer pipeline installation, a fast-tracked project to get a new pipeline in as soon as possible.

“Our existing sewer rising main in Maroochydore was severely degraded, so we had to replace it as soon as possible.

“It’s quite satisfying to be able to say that we replaced the pipeline in five months, safeguarding the reliability of sewerage services to the community in this area for the next 100 years.”

Jake said the best part of the role is turning a conceptual idea into a physical reality, and he also likes the team spirit when taking on complex issues and overcoming challenges.

He has three pieces of advice for future project managers.

“A good project manager knows a little bit about everything but not necessarily an expert in any one thing,” he said.

“People management is critical so that you can get everyone pushing in the same direction, and you can plan as much as possible but there will still be unknowns and it’s how you navigate those unknowns to best deliver a project.”

Unitywater provides a number of programs, including the Unitywater Scholarship and Vacation Work Program, to provide university students an opportunity to gain experience in and exposure to the wide range of careers available in the water industry.

For more information about Unitywater’s career and work experience opportunities visit www.unitywater.com/about-us/careers/our-career-pathways or register your interest at careers@unitywater.com