Giving up school holidays for work experience just before final ATAR exams, isn’t something most Year 12 students are up for. But it was an opportunity Hannah Norris knew was too good to miss, and one which paid off in the best way possible.

Hannah completed her work experience at McNab, and because of her eagerness to learn and tenacious attitude, she was immediately offered a Cadetship with the company.

Hannah developed a passion for construction growing up with her grandfather and father working in the industry.

She completed a Diploma in Project Management in Grade 11 and a Diploma of Business in Year 12, while also undertaking her ATAR studies for university entry.

“I knew I had a passion for the construction industry, and the CSQ Gateways Program just confirmed this was where I wanted to be,” Hannah said.

Despite her heavy school load, Hannah seized the opportunity to gain experience in the industry to learn about the many different career opportunities in construction.

“I loved that it included architecture and design, and with estimating, it was not just measuring – I was talking to subbies, getting quotes and was not just stuck in an office,” she recalls.

Hannah’s Gateways experience not only helped her get her Cadetship at McNab where she now works full-time, but she can apply her industry knowledge in her studies for her Bachelor of Urban Development, majoring in Construction Management at the Queensland University of Technology.

“I find uni a lot easier because I am working within the industry,” Hannah said.

Hannah began her cadetship just over six months ago, via the program McNab created which is designed to kickstart careers in construction. The program rotates cadets providing exposure to a variety of projects in Estimating, Design and Operations, site visits and regular development workshops with senior leaders.

“I came into McNab so green, with little knowledge of the construction industry, and it’s been great to feel so supported and have people around me so happy to help me progress and teach me new skills,” Hannah says.

“Every day is different which is what I really enjoy, it’s always exciting.

“I love working with different people across the business and the relationship-building that comes with talking to subbies and contractors. Day-to-day I get the opportunity to go out on site to projects that we are thinking about tendering or have just been awarded. The variety is awesome. There’s always new projects and developments.”

While some might find it intimidating coming into a male-dominated industry, Hannah sees it as an opportunity.

“We’re not in an age anymore where it’s a disadvantage to be a woman in this industry, the opportunities are endless. Women are so supported, and you have to take advantage of the opportunities available,” she says.

Hannah credits the Gateways program for providing her with practical industry insights that helped her choose her degree and receive a Cadetship through McNab.

“Without the Gateways program, I wouldn’t have my Cadetship through McNab, nor be studying Urban Development. You don’t know about something unless you take the opportunity and experience it in real life. Real-life experience helps get your foot in the door,” Hannah said.

The Gateways to Industry program is a collaboration between CSQ and the Queensland Government that provides real-life exposure to work in the construction industry via work experience placements.

Established in Toowoomba in 1996, McNab is now one of the largest private construction and development companies in Queensland, with more than 350 staff.

Find out more about McNab’s Apprentice and Cadet programs here