No backward steps for Amelia

March 15, 2024 | People

Amelia Mcilwaine doesn’t believe in barriers. The Paynter Dixon cadet is single-minded about pursuing a career in construction.

The fire was lit after completing work experience with the 110-year-old design and construction company.

“At the time I was a year 11 student of Norwest Christian College where Paynter Dixon was overseeing construction of a two-storey Atrium building. My eyes were glued on the construction site, so I approached our careers advisor to see if we could arrange work experience, and it went from there.”

Amelia’s week of work experience touched on both the design and construction spheres of the business – office and site teams working in partnership.

“I saw many different projects in parallel.”

“I liked the idea of everyone being on a mission and working towards the same goal.”

On completion of year 12, Amelia commenced a Bachelor of Construction Management at Western Sydney University. This opened the door to a cadetship at Paynter Dixon where Amelia now balances academic study with industry experience and paid employment.

It’s not her first job, however. “I started working in a butcher’s shop at 13, serving customers and cleaning up. From 16 I worked in a supermarket. There were times when you needed a tough skin, but I’ve always enjoyed working.”

Strong female role models were found at home.

“I grew up with my mum and sister in western Sydney. Mum always taught me to be independent and stand my ground.”

How’s the cadetship working out?

“It felt like I learnt more in my first month at Paynter Dixon than a year at university! There has been plenty of support from the company, and that has included access to women at various stages in their own careers.”

Amelia is especially grateful for the mentoring offered Antoinette Lee and Jade Cohen – both Design Managers.

“Antoinette has decades of leadership experience and is a passionate advocate of women in construction. Jade is forging a successful career and provides great perspective as well.”

The cadet is drawn to project management and future leadership.

“I just want to know everything about the project I’m working on. I’m impressed by the project manager and how they communicate with their teams – always transparent.”

Currently assigned with the design management team, Amelia will rotate through every discipline of the company, including estimating, contract management, safety and quality, and construction.

“I think it’s important to understand every aspect of the business if you aspire to leading a team.”

The experience is also about learning how to partner for the best outcome.

“We work with people from all different backgrounds, right? Everyone is shaped by their own life experience, but we work as a team and embrace these differences.”

Whatever the future holds, Amelia is not taking a backward step.

“What’s stopping you? The only thing holding you back is yourself.”

Learn more about working with Paynter Dixon.