Molly Tilby, Quantity Surveyor

Quantity Surveyor Molly Tilby joined us as part of the Graduate and Cadet Programme back in January 2020 after completing a Bachelor of Construction majoring in Construction Economics from Unitec. Completing the programme in December 2021, Molly is now a Quantity Surveyor working on our University of Auckland Recreation and Wellness Centre project – also known as “her favourite yet”.

When we asked her about her time as a Cadet, she said “I always describe the Cadet Programme as QSing with training wheels. This meant I got to learn all the things a QS does while having a formal network of support, rather than starting in a junior QS role, getting thrown in the deep end and hoping I didn’t drown.”

Now a fully-fledged QS, her day-to-day role involves managing procurement of trade packages, evaluating subcontractor payments and variations, processing invoices, and raising purchase orders. She also balances her job with her passion for sustainability – an avid learner, Molly recently completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Environmental Management from Lincoln University and is also part of her site’s sustainability committee.

Outside of the classroom, Molly has also gotten to learn lots of new and different skills. She tells us “I’ve learnt to drive a forklift and got my license, plus also learnt and gained the confidence to drive and back a trailer, which was something I had never done before.

She continues, “I also had the opportunity to do the entirety of the Mates in Construction Training, a two-day intensive course to support suicide intervention. Whilst it was emotionally intense, I have seen the benefits of doing this training in both my work and personal life.”

Not stopping there, she was also sent on the inaugural Hawkins Cadet/Graduate exchange where she embarked on a three-month placement with Pragmatix, a specialist project and property consulting company, which saw her gain “invaluable” experience working on the client side of life.

When asked about working as a female in construction, she told us “When I decided to pursue a career in construction, I had been told that I would need to develop a thick skin because the men on site would behave in ways that were sexist – but in my experience I found the complete opposite to be true.

She continues “As part of my cadetship, I did a four-month rotation with the UoA Rec Centre site team and from the moment I joined, I was one of them. They answered my questions and never made me feel stupid for not knowing something or asking them to repeat things. They fostered an environment where the kind of things I had been told to expect were not acceptable or tolerated, and there were enforced consequences if they did.

“These are the reasons I enjoy coming to work every day. Not only am I constantly learning and the work interesting, but I also get to work with a great team who are supportive in every aspect of my job.”

Outside of work, Molly is an avid sewer, she tells us “I like to make my own clothes and even have a dedicated sewing room at home. When wearing masks was mandatory onsite, I made some of my colleague’s reusable masks and for a while, the commercial team were all wearing matching Rick & Morty face masks.

“Hawkins supports me fully in work-life balance. Work doesn’t encroach on my personal time, whether that be weekends or annual leave, and this allows me to fully recharge and enjoy that time” she says.

Thinking about a career in construction? Molly’s advice is “Just go for it. If you are hesitating because of the time investment in the training, then think of it like this; A QS diploma takes two years to achieve, and those two years are going to pass anyway, you may as well have something to show for them.”

When we asked what’s next for Molly, she said “I have received a lot of mentoring in my time at Hawkins, my goal is to move from the mentee to the mentor. If I could be half as good as the mentors, I have had then that will be pretty awesome.”

We look forward to seeing Molly’s career continue to go from strength to strength!