Project management experience for the next generation
10 March 2021 | 3 min read
RPS has welcomed an honorary member to our Canberra team over the last few months, with engineering student Xavier coming on board for an intensive internship program.
Undertaking the placement as part of his fourth-year aeronautical engineering studies at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), Xavier has brought a new perspective to our project management team’s work, while learning the ins and outs of consulting on large scale initiatives.
“Much of our work here in the ACT is associated with Defence programs and clients, so as an ADFA student Xavier was a natural fit for the team,” said RPS Project Director Roy Henry, who was Xavier’s manager during his time at RPS.
“As consultants, we know that there’s a real balance to strike between the technical components of projects—all the capabilities Xavier is developing as part of his studies—and the skills you need to bring stakeholders together and working towards a positive project outcome.
“It was interesting to hear Xavier’s perspectives on combining those skillsets and great to see how committed he was to contributing his own technical knowledge while learning about the vital role of stakeholder engagement throughout his internship with us.
“Everyone in the office took to Xavier immediately and we’re looking forward to opportunities to work with him in the future as he builds his career.”
We asked Xavier about his experience at RPS...
Have your perceptions of project management consulting changed? Was there anything that surprised you?
“My experience with project management (PM) prior to my time with RPS had only ever been the mandatory Gantt Chart for engineering group projects at university, which always felt more like a ‘tick the box’ requirement from the lecturer, rather than a useful piece of information.
“So, I believe it is fair to say that over my six-weeks with the RPS Canberra team I have been extremely surprised by how interesting, dynamic, and diverse the world of PM consulting really is. My perception of PM has not just changed, it's been created.”
What insights did you gain about how real-world projects are run? What kind of skills does a good project team need to have?
“Throughout my time, I identified that each real-world project follows a somewhat similar methodology, with each phase of a project’s life broken down into key milestones specific to the requirements for that project. From my observations, what made this method complex was the specific and unique challenges each project had, and hence, why a project team is so invaluable to clients.
“I was very fortunate to be able to work with extremely talented and proficient project teams. The key skills I found each team possessed were their outstanding written and verbal communication skills, thorough understanding and experience with the PM discipline, high attention to detail, and a genuine passion for wanting to provide the best outcomes for the project and the client.”
Our team really enjoyed working with you and think you'd be a great project manager! Could you see yourself consulting at some point in the future?
“I found the dynamic nature of PM—where every day is different and you are always faced with unique challenges—to be very appealing. Variety is the spice of life after all! So, it has certainly made a profound impression as a potential future area of interest. More immediately however, as a member of Defence, I found it extremely valuable to gain an understanding of the processes and perspectives of the PM team. I hope that having now gained this understanding, in future, I will be able to work more effectively (and hopefully harmoniously) with a PM team when acting as a client on behalf of Defence.”
What did you enjoy most about your internship experience?
"The people. I am a firm believer that the people make the job. You could work in the most purposeful, interesting, and lucrative career but it would count for nothing without a positive workplace culture. Everyone in the RPS Canberra office, and all those who I met visiting from outside Canberra were motivating, passionate, and genuine people. I am very grateful to have experienced such a great workplace culture, made up by the even greater RPS staff.”
Interested in a career at RPS? Check out our latest opportunities
Founded in 1970, RPS, A Tetra Tech Company (RPS) is a leading global professional services firm of 5,000 consultants and service providers. Operating in 125 countries, working across six continents we define, design and manage projects that create shared value to a complex, urbanising and resource-scarce world.
RPS delivers a broad range of services in six sectors: property, energy, transport, water, defence and government services and resources. Services provided across RPS' six sectors cover twelve service clusters: project and program management, design and development, water services, environment, advisory and management consulting, exploration and development, planning and approvals, health, safety and risk, oceans and coastal, laboratories, training and communications, creative and digital services.
RPS stands out for its clients by using its deep expertise to solve problems that matter, making them easy to understand. Making complex easy.
For further information, please visit www.rpsgroup.com.