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Mr Chris Walker
Bachelor of Construction Management
Helping supervise the building of the 2006 Commonwealth Games Village in Melbourne was an exciting career launch into construction management for Chris Walker. At the completion of his degree studies and with the help of Deakin’s extensive industry network he gained work with Australand as a construction supervisor on the Games site. He later worked as a contract administrator in the company’s commercial and industrial division before becoming an on-site junior project manager.
Given that Chris likes to be hands-on, he could not have wished for a better start to his career with a high profile project for good measure. Chris’s interest in the Construction Management course at Deakin’s magnificent Waterfront campus stemmed from his exposure to his extended family’s 100-year plastering and tiling business.
Chris enjoyed the practical focus of the course, the camaraderie between students and the accessibility and genuine interest of the lecturers, most of whom juggled their academic life with work in the industry. ‘For every dot point in a PowerPoint presentation, the lecturers could give a practical example drawn from their own experience,’ Chris noted.
One of the highlights of the course was a unit on construction and structures. Based on their own drawings, students had to construct a timber model to scale of a house. By the end of the project they certainly appreciated how a house comes together. Chris, who prefers tactile learning to theory, surprised himself with the enjoyment he gained from doing his final year thesis. His research was based on worker satisfaction because he enjoys exploring what motivates and drives people. His work dismissed his preconceptions that people were largely driven by financial remuneration. Worker satisfaction was largely driven by work-place recognition, appreciation and further learning and development – factors that contribute to self esteem and empowerment.
According to Chris the course content was extremely relevant and he finds himself regularly referring back to his notes and textbooks. He noted that he draws on subjects like services and environmental science much more than he had expected. Two years into his course Chris knew he had found his niche so decided the time was right to take two years off to explore the world. ‘Many people said that I wouldn’t go back to study but I knew I would because I enjoyed the course so much. I wanted to travel then so I could get straight into work when I finished my studies,’ explained Chris, adding that his Commonwealth Games Village position came up through a Deakin graduate who worked for Australand.
Chris was delighted to continue to satisfy his travel bug at the end of fourth year when he travelled to Central Australia with fellow Deakin students. He said it was a fantastic way to see Australia and also meet fellow Deakin students from a range of countries and studying different disciplines. Chris puts his Deakin friendships on an equal par with his academic qualifications both of which provide solid foundations for the future.