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From February to May this year, Grace Mulquiney interned with us while she completed the penultimate year of her Bachelor of Construction at Melbourne University. Grace shares her thoughts about working at Assemble below.
How did you hear about Assemble and what made you reach out for the internship opportunity?
I initially heard about Assemble through my mentor at university, suggesting I get in touch based on the type of work I was interested in doing. I then followed Assemble on Instagram and read about your projects on the website. Once I decided to defer this semester of university, I knew I wanted to intern at Assemble. It presented the perfect opportunity to gain experience relative to my degree, while also learning about a new model of housing to me and how sustainability is integrated into Assemble’s developments.
What would a typical day consist of within the Development Team?
Within the development team I have been exposed to a large portfolio of work, so every day I was exposed to new information and elements of the projects. I have largely been involved in the planning stage of projects so typically my day would involve attending design meetings, reading through consultant reports, and looking over architectural and landscape plans. The planning phase has also involved understanding Councils’ requests for further information on town planning submissions and contacting the relevant consultants to assist with responses.
What were the most memorable experiences of your internship at Assemble?
One of my most memorable experiences was the site visit at 393 Macaulay Rd. Kensington. As a construction student, I had never been on a construction site until then due to the pandemic. This experience meant that I could finally see many of the materials and methods of construction I had learnt about in class being applied in real life. While at Assemble, I was also able to attend the International Women’s Day breakfast. We had the pleasure of listening to Kathy Kaplan OAM present to us about her charity Impact and discuss the impacts of domestic violence within the broader community. I also helped to replant the vegetable garden. This lunchtime activity was a great way to get some sunshine, connect with staff members I was yet to meet and inspired me to create my own little herb garden at home.
What were your key learnings or insights from your internship at Assemble?
My involvement in the pre-town planning approval stage of the projects has been really valuable as this is a phase of the project development process that I have not been exposed to in my studies. I have learnt a lot about understanding council planning regulations, the required inputs for planning approval and the different pathways.
I have also gained insight into different problem-solving strategies by attending collaborative meetings as issues arise. I really enjoyed being a part of these meetings to understand the types of problems that can occur in all stages of development, and how they can be resolved. I also had the opportunity to engage and communicate with external consultants, which was invaluable for improving my professional communication skills.
What are your next steps in your studies and in your career path?
For the next 8 months I will be in the US, where I will work at a summer camp as a lifeguard and water-ski instructor, and then undertake a semester of exchange at the University of Maryland. There, I will take courses in real estate development, as well as ‘Sustainability’ and ‘World Hunger, Population and Food Supplies’. This is an exciting opportunity to broaden my learning experiences and immerse myself in a new country. I then plan to return to complete my Bachelor of Design (Construction) in 2023 and, at this stage, I hope to continue working in property development.
Would you come back and work here at Assemble?
I would definitely come back and work at Assemble! I have really enjoyed the staff culture within the office, from going out to get lunch with different people each week to the impromptu coffee chats in the kitchen, I have always felt so welcome and included. But mostly, I have found the work really rewarding, I love that each project has a strong focus on environmental and social impact, which I think is uncommon for property developers. I have also found it to be a really positive and collaborative work environment which is really appealing as a student/graduate in terms of feeling supported while learning quickly on the job.