WSP

Professional Services

WSP is one of the world’s leading professional services consulting firms.

We are dedicated to our local communities and propelled by international brainpower. We are technical experts and strategic advisors including engineers, technicians, scientists, planners, surveyors and environmental specialists, as well as other design, program and construction management professionals. We design lasting solutions in the Transport & Water, Property & Buildings, Earth & Environment, and Mining & Power sector as well as offering strategic Advisory, Engagement & Digital services. With approximately 6,100 talented people in more than 50 offices in Australia and New Zealand, we engineer future-ready projects that will help societies grow for lifetimes to come.

 

HERE'S A SNAPSHOT...

6,100 Talented People
40+ Cities
1885 Founded

The WSP Story

In 1885 an engineer called William Parsons founded a company and began designing everything from lines on New York’s subway, to canals in Cape Cod, to vast railway tracks connecting Chinese cities. In 1906, a highway engineer and electrical railways specialist called Henry Brinckerhoff joined forces with Parsons. Their business, now called Parsons Brinckerhoff, went on to work on some of the most significant infrastructure projects of the 20th century. It helped build roads across the US, tunnels in Europe, power stations in the Middle East and rapid transit systems across Asia.

In 2009, Balfour Beatty (a British multinational infrastructure group) bought the business. After combining it with Halsall Associates (a large Canadian engineering firm), it then sold it on to WSP Global (commonly known as WSP) in 2014. The business was known as WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff until early 2017 when the name was shortened to WSP.

WSP, itself the result of decades of mergers and acquisitions, is one of the world’s leading engineering professional services firms. Headquartered in Montreal, it has a history stretching back to 1959. It now has 500 offices spread across 40 countries and growing.

Our Culture

The culture of WSP has evolved over the last 100 years significantly with a leading focus on embracing diversity into every element of its workforce. Today it aims “to create a workplace that is free from discrimination and offers equal opportunities, based on merit, in all areas of employment, recruitment, training and promotion”.

The company provides paid parental leave and flexible work options leading to consecutive citation by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) recognising WSP as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) in 2019-2020.

In Australia, WSP’s diversity council is focused on “diversity training, communications and engagement, flexible working, increased female participation in leadership roles, employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, salary parity and setting integrated diversity performance indicators”.

 

Social Contribution

WSP combines its technical expertise and “understanding of the legal and financial drivers” to help its clients “improve performance across social, economic and environmental aspects of their business”. This can yield results such as emission and carbon footprint reductions, improved stakeholder engagement and the more efficient use of resources to help sustain our natural environments.

WSP’s environmental engineers, consultants and certified geologists have been involved in many cutting-edge environmental projects. They have assisted hundreds of clients with “regulatory environmental compliance [to] help them be future-proof and grow their business”.

We believe we have a duty to make the societies in which we live, fit-for-purpose not just today but for the short, medium and long term future. We call this framework ‘Future Ready’ and it is a cornerstone of the work we do and the way we do it.

Future-Ready_Fact-Sheet

Career Prospects

WSP offer a comprehensive two-year professional development program for Graduates to help them quickly assimilate the skills required to be productive and successful as they transition from University to Corporate life. You will work on “challenging, stimulating projects” and get exposure “to new ideas, technology and innovation”. If you do have leadership potential, WSP will invest in its development. The company is proud of its leadership framework, which “enables people new to leadership to learn and develop the skills, tools and attitudes they need to succeed”.

The components of our Graduate Training program can be seen here.

Meet Melissa

Melissa Bong – Bachelor’s Degree in Degree in Aerospace Engineering and Neuroscience

All the math and science will help provide a foundation but you’re own problem-solving abilities and personal development is what will make you successful.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Sydney and attended both school and university in Kensington. While at UNSW, I was fortunate enough to partake in a six-month exchange at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.

As WSP is a global business, I know there are various opportunities to work across the world. I’m hoping to work in the UK office at some point!

How did you get to your current job position?

I have been in the graduate program at WSP since January this year. I applied via the WSP online portal and went through the various rounds of online testing and interviews.

In my second year of uni, I was fortunate enough to secure an internship in the defence sector at JEDS, Sydney. There I worked on structural analysis of sonar deployment devices and management/procurement of international projects. From this experience, I was connected to a carbon composites manufacturer, newly emerging in the defence sector. For the last two years of my degree, I worked at Carbonix in their operations and design engineering teams – developing, upgrading and manufacturing drones. I also completed my honours thesis on carbon composite propeller design under their guidance and sponsorship.

Throughout university I was very active in the Engineering Student Society, organising various student networking and external sponsor events. Through this, I was exposed to WSP and its capabilities across the civil and mechanical space in Australia. I think that both my professional and co-curricular experience really helped me stand out in my application at WSP.

How did you choose your specialisation?

I was always interested in STEM – but wasn’t sure what I wanted to be. I decided on engineering and science as I knew that they would be great foundations to help me learn about what kind of jobs and opportunities existed. Throughout became more and more fascinated by the system complexity of both aerospace technologies and neuroscience. That same passion for understanding, breaking down and solving complex systems has not changed. The alternative path for me would be to work in the R&D or higher research realm – which is still definitely a possibility at WSP!

What was your interview process like?

WSP’s graduate hire process was a little different from the others. Apart from the standard initial application questions and psychometric questions, the interview process was very unique. As the first round of ‘interview’ applicants were invited to attend a networking night, promoting discussion between young professionals and higher executives. The objective of the night was to spark interest in any of the WSP employees, who would note what qualities you had and pass them on to the hiring team.  This unconventional method played very much to my interpersonal and communication skills.

Following this, a one-on-one interview was conducted with the team executive, with questions such along the lines of ‘what do you intend on getting out of this program?’, ‘why do you think you would be a great fit?’, ‘what experiences do you have in solving difficult problems? Etc. The objective was to prove you were a resilient and adaptable worker who would fit in with the company values and team culture.

What does your employer do?

WSP is a global professional services firm providing engineering, planning, environment, and infrastructure services. The major sectors that we service are urban development management, community, transportation, and other planned development sectors throughout Australia.

What are your areas of responsibility?

I am currently working across various projects in different lifecycle stages and in different roles. In the project management space, I am responsible for the progress and budget reporting, monitoring design progress and liaising with subcontractors. In the track engineering section, I liaise with Signalling, Drainage, Power, Overhead wiring, Road/Pavement, buildings etc and flag any potential design clashes, determine suitable design configurations, report and present.

Can you describe a typical workday?

A typical day will start at about 8.30 am. While in the graduate program our daily activities are quite dynamic and flexible.

What are the career prospects with your job?

There are two main branches to progress into – a more managerial (team/project/commercial management role) or technical (to become a technology executive or SME). The fluidity within the company allows for the transfer of skills and capabilities  across teams, meaning you could be a track engineer now, move into transport planning and modelling or event give

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes – of the three rail graduates hired in my cohort, our backgrounds range from construction, mechatronics to aerospace engineering. The company fosters sharing knowledge and learning on-the-job, meaning it’s the individual’s attitude and aptitude to learning that dictates how successful they may be.

What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?

I love what I do so much that other careers seem equally as likely or unlikely.

However, within the engineering sector, I might have remained in the aerospace industry, perhaps moving to management in the commercial or defence aviation world. Outside of the engineering world, I would have pursued a career in the medical field either in research or as a clinician. My key career driver is feeling purpose in my work.

What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most?

I love the culture and nurturing environment at WSP. There is a strong focus on both professional and personal development as well as supporting their young professionals. In my time at WSP, I’ve worked on small design upgrades, large multi-firm design & build projects and even data analysis/tool development, I’ve been able to travel to rural sites and other WSP city offices. There is no limit to the opportunities to learn and develop!

In my specific role, I really enjoy the use of the digital application and the freedom to use (or develop) additional tools. My favourite aspect is the track design and 3D modelling of the rail corridor & infrastructure, inputting these into clash detection software and seeing the complex multidisciplinary project come to life. I also enjoy continually learning about the operational and functional need for the rail network, as well as its crucial contribution to the movement of people. It really makes you feel like every little thing you do makes a difference to the community!

What’s the biggest limitation of your job?

The diversity and inherent complexity of the transport engineering industry is both a great opportunity and a limitation. It is not only design and engineering parameters that affect the success of a project, but other influences such as budgets, planning and various community stakeholders. As a new graduate in the industry, it can mean that when trying to deliver a solution for one problem, or delivering one design (for example the track alignment) There are so many interfacing disciplines and connections, it can feel like you’re always missing a piece of the puzzle. This can lead to slower times to complete tasks or weekend work but I am always reminded that it’s fine to take my time and it’s all part of the learning process.

Across different projects, I’ll have varying levels of responsibility. The type of projects ie, tendering, concept/detailed design/ feasibility will also affect the working environments. For me personally, I thrive in higher stress/pressure situations. This has also taught me to regularly prompt myself to stop for a moment, check-in and flag if I’m feeling too overwhelmed.

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?

  1. If you have a question, ask it.  When you feel nervous about asking a particular question, start off with “for learning purposes” and let others know that you’re still figuring it all out.
  2. University will teach you how to learn and adapt to the job, not exactly how to do it. All the math and science will help provide a foundation but you’re own problem-solving abilities and personal development is what will make you successful.
  3. Life is like a sine wave, you’ll go through many peaks and troughs. Changing your mind or your feelings about your career (or anything) is very normal – you will have to learn how to take a step out and decide when to keep on going or give a different approach a go.

Meet Michael

Michael Cross – Graduate Engineering Geologist at WSP

Do something you enjoy. Your enthusiasm will reflect on the work you produce and make you more desirable.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Diamond Beach, two hours north of Newcastle. Since as early as I could – the age of fourteen, I had a job. I’ve always worked for what I have. In school, I always had a passion for Science and furthered that passion in high school. I moved to Newcastle to study at the University of Newcastle. I had numerous jobs while studying to get me through uni. At one point I was studying during the day and working the night shift in a factory. After I graduated, I got a job working on the Newcastle Airport terminal and runway upgrade as an environmental and safety officer. I decided I wanted to further my geological career and chased a job as a Geotechnician working for a geotechnical testing laboratory. My role there was lab and field-based where I gained many skills and knowledge which I still use every day in my current job.

How did you get to your current job position?

In 2018 I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship, very abruptly, and decided I needed a change. My role as a Geotechnician wasn’t stimulating enough for me and there was no further opportunity to grow in that company anytime soon. I had contacted my now current boss Jamie Anderson about a year earlier chasing a job which at the time was with Parsons Brinkerhoff which was undergoing a lot of changes becoming WSP. At this point in my life, I knew this time was different. Toward the end of 2018, I was chasing up Jamie every week until I finally got an interview. A couple of months later, I had acquired my job at WSP as a Graduate Engineering Geologist which I started in January 2019.

How did you choose your specialisation?

I originally thought I was applying for a Geotechnical Engineering position, but my current boss Jamie thought I would be more suited to the role of an Engineering Geologist based on my earth science background.

What was your interview process like?

The interview process was good, a few questions had me a bit stumped and pushed me to think about my answers. Questions were based strongly around safety, my experiences, skills, and professional growth.

What does your employer do?

Engineering Consultancy

What are your areas of responsibility?

Geotech investigation and field testing, design, site supervision, 3D geological modelling, soil and core logging, liaising with clients and subcontractors, reporting, proposal writing, and project set up.

Can you describe a typical workday?

I do a lot of fieldwork. Typically, 75% of the time I am out in the field undertaking geotechnical investigations. I have done geotechnical fieldwork on numerous projects. Mine and dam expansion projects, Burrawang to Avon Tunnel (BAT), mine subsidence investigations, and Sydney Trains drainage investigations.

What are the career prospects with your job?

I am looking to move into project management; however, I am still enjoying doing fieldwork and hope to balance both aspects.

What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?

I honestly don’t know where I would be. I like to live life in the moment and don’t like to think about what could have been. Always keep moving forward.

What do you love the most about your job?

I love being out in the field. You get to work with different people all the time from all walks of life. You get to see locations that few people see or are inaccessible to the public. Especially working in the southern highlands on the BAT project, I got to see a beautiful part of Australia, that I likely wouldn’t have gone to. I feel like I am constantly learning and testing myself when I’m out in the field. I also enjoy being in the office it’s a good change sometimes. It is also in a beautiful location right near Newcastle beach.

What’s the biggest limitation of your job?

As much as I do love fieldwork. I spend a lot of time away from home which impacts my ability to do sport and train throughout the week. Stress can sometimes be reflected when budgets and timeframes are restraining.

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?

  1. I feel like the biggest advice is if you want something goes out and gets it. Don’t wait for it to come to you.
  2. Always be committed to push yourself and learn new things. Keep expanding the way you think.
  3. Do something you enjoy. Your enthusiasm will reflect on the work you produce and make you more desirable.

Today…

We employ 6,100 talented people across 40+ cities in ANZ with skills in a variety of areas. Our people include technical experts and strategic advisors, engineers, technicians, scientists, planners, surveyors, environmental specialists, as well as other digital, design, program & construction management professionals.

We are powered by connected expertise – our wealth of collective experience and the collaborative way we work across disciplines and with our clients sets us apart.

We deliver FUTURE READY® projects – those that are ready for today’s needs but that will continue to provide solutions to tomorrow’s challenges.

A Day in the Life

Kate Hofmeyer – Systems Engineer – Rail (Transport) at WSP Australia

6.30 AM

My first of two alarms goes off at 6.30 am, I turn it off as always and go back to sleep for the five minutes before my 6.35 am alarm goes off – I’ve somehow convinced myself that this is different from snoozing my alarm and obviously less lazy. After the second alarm I’m out of bed, getting dressed into gym clothes, eating breakfast, grabbing my things and giving the dogs a pat before I’m out the door at 7.00 am. I wave to one of my housemates as she gets home from the night shift at the hospital.

7.00 AM

When my company relocated me from Adelaide to Sydney for 12 months, one of my main criteria when looking for a place to live was that it was walking distance to the office. I lucked out and found a beautiful place a nice 30-minute stroll from the office. I set off for the day, listening to whatever Spotify has added to my weekly Release Radar playlist.

When I make it to the office, I head to the End of Trip (EOT) facilities where I shower and get ready for my day. Having showers and lockers on site gives me the flexibility I like to get ready at home or at work.

8.00 AM

I make my way up to level 28 where the rail team is based. We are an agile office meaning we clear our desks at the end of every day. I have a love-hate relationship with the agile setup, as I’m a creature of habit, but I also love the ability to sit and chat with different people each day. As one of the first people in, I grab my stuff from my locker and set up at my favourite desk right in the middle of the rail team area. As we have the option of choosing our hours each day, there a few people around the office who have been in since 7.00 am. I say my hellos on my way to grab my first of many cups of tea for the day and am warned by a colleague that there’s an interesting email waiting for me.

Checking my emails and calendar I am not disappointed by the interesting email I was promised. I am currently working on two projects, one based in Auckland, NZ and the other here in Sydney. Due to the time difference between Sydney and Auckland I often have a number of emails that need attention first thing each morning. I have received an email from my PM on the NZ project asking for one of my architecture diagrams to be updated and circulated in time for a meeting with the client that afternoon. This is a massive task, so I have to quickly rearrange my plans for the day to ensure I can get it out before lunch. Luckily, I have a lot of flexibility between my projects that I can make this happen easily and it doesn’t disrupt my day too much.

9.00 AM

I make a quick phone call to confirm the details of what is required for the client meeting that afternoon in NZ and then get cracking with the updates. I have created a staging diagram that outlines the construction and installation activities we are designing on an existing rail line in Auckland. The aim of the document is to detail the different operational configurations available to the client over the next 4+ years as well as to ensure our design is aligned internally. This requires a great deal of input from the different disciplines involved, including track, civils, signalling, overhear wiring, traction power, and the constructability team. I spend about an hour making phone calls and confirming changes with the designers from each discipline. There are a few discrepancies that I have to get to the bottom of and iron out. I’ve built a good relationship with the design team which helps to ensure that at times like this they are more than happy to help in any way they can. I’ve found that developing these relationships is essential as without them I wouldn’t be able to have such short turn arounds on my tasks when required to.

10.00 AM

After confirming all of the required changes, I am able to quickly update the diagram as I have used Visio Professional and only need to edit the data behind my diagram as the drawing automatically updates itself. I PDF the final version and send it to the required people just in time for my 10.15 am coffee meeting in the kitchen area on level 27.

10.15 AM

Down on level 27, I grab a coffee from the machine and sit down with one of the Pathways leads in Sydney. Pathways is our internal organisation for young professionals, and am a part of the committee this year. Today we are discussing some possible social responsibility initiatives that we could support and promote internally. This is a big interest of mine and I love that we have the company’s backing to run events and support programs that aim to improve the society that we live in. I have put together a list of opportunities and we are discussing the feasibility of getting involved in each.

11.00 AM

Following my coffee meeting, I give the NZ PM a call to ensure he has everything he needs from me. He’s happy with the document I sent through and has printed it ready for the meeting. He asks if I can be in Auckland in 2 weeks’ time to attend a few client meetings and continue to progress the work I am responsible for. I have agreed with the NZ project that I am available to be in Auckland in the project office one week each month, so am more than happy to book on the trip as requested. After the phone call, I contact my immediate Systems Engineering team working on the NZ project and let them know of my travel plans, as we usually try to align our trips to NZ so that we can have a collaborative and aligned approach. As my team is spread across different states in Australia, it is also a good opportunity to share knowledge and lessons learned with each other when we cross paths. I send off the travel request and head to grab another cup of tea to bring back to my desk.

I can now return to my planned activities for the day. At this stage that includes continuing another of my tasks for the NZ project. I have been given the responsibility of creating and managing the Work Breakdown Structure for our scope of works with the intention of detailing the split between our work and that of suppliers we will engage. I have received a number of updates and have identified a few key issues that I need to raise and resolve. I send out a few emails and book in some meetings to address these issues later in the week.

12.00 PM

Heading back to the kitchen, I meet some mates from a range of different teams for lunch. We usually utilise Skype for business to send out a quick group chat organising what time we will have lunch. As a big fan of meal prepping, I have my lunch packed from home, but a few others have their favourite lunches from the local restaurants and cafes that they bring back up into the office. We usually avoid work chat at lunch and instead catch up on each other’s weekends. Our lunch group grows and changes almost daily and includes people from across all of the business groups. I particularly enjoy having lunch in the kitchen because it gives you the opportunity to meet new people who you may not actually work with on a day-to-day basis.

12.30 PM

On my way back up to level 28, I grab another cup of tea to drink while I prepare for an upcoming meeting. I am assisting the bid team to put together a bid for an upcoming project that requires some input from my team. This is the first time I have been involved in working on a bid, and I’m super interested in contributing to the strategy and planning from the Systems Engineering and Integration perspective.

1.00 PM

The bid meeting is incredibly interesting, there is a lot of discussion around lessons learned on previous projects as well how the work I, and the rest of the Systems Engineering team, do can benefit the client in ways they may not be aware of yet. I present some work I have done on other projects that we may be able to market to the client as an opportunity to strengthen our delivery process. I focus on our processes and tools that our company and team have developed internationally and how we can tailor these to suit our client directly.  This meeting includes some of our top project managers, team executives and subject matter experts. It is a new opportunity for me to display my own skills and progress as well as continue to promote my teams’ work to the wider rail team. Overall it is a very successful meeting and there are a lot of actions that come out of it for me to chase up and deliver over the next few weeks.

2.00 PM

Following my meeting, I finally get around to spending some solid time on my Sydney-based project. We are currently acting as the technical advisor at the concept phase of this project. As the client’s office is upstairs, I grab the new graduate who has just joined my team and is going to be helping me out, and we head upstairs. I really enjoy my client-based work, so I make a big effort to be present and integrated within their team. After introducing our new grad to the client’s team, we get set up and I dig into my to-do list. I sit down with the client’s lead systems engineer and we run through the changes I have proposed to their DOORS setup and discuss the benefits and downfalls until we are satisfied that our new approach is the most beneficial to the project without being an overwhelming amount of additional effort.

3.30 PM

Knowing I have a weekly client meeting tomorrow for my Sydney-based project, I update the program and progress report and review the agenda. I don’t expect any big issues and am pleased that we are still well on target to achieve our deadlines and deliver our work on schedule and to the high standard that we expect of ourselves.

4.00 PM

And that’s me done for the day! I say my goodbyes and head back down to the EOT facilities. Back into my gym clothes and I’m off. I call my mum back in Adelaide on my walk home, it’s always nice to just catch up quickly whilst also being outside in the fresh air after a day of work. I make a habit of going to the gym on my walk home 4 nights each week and today is no different. I hang up from mum, chuck a podcast on and start today’s program. I love the flexibility of my work hours that means I can be at the gym before the post-work rush that comes from the 9-5 crowd.

5.30 PM

After a quick stretch to cool down, I continue my walk home, having texted my housemates to let them know I am on my way. This may be my favourite time of each day – 2 of my housemates meet me at the park at the end of our block with both the dogs and we just hang out throwing the ball and catching up on each other’s days (and/or nights depending on their shifts). If it’s a nice day we let the dogs into the water, too!  I highly recommend getting housemates who have dogs, all of the fun with none of the responsibility!

6.30 PM

Heading home, I jump in the shower and start putting my things together for tomorrow’s workday. One of my housemates offered to cook for us all tonight, so we’re having a house favourite – Thai red curry! We like to rotate who cooks as we all have different schedules and it works well for us.

8.00 PM

Following dinner, I put the kettle on again and make cups of tea for everyone to have with the banana bread I had baked on the weekend. We sit on the couch with the TV on in the background while we chat and play cards. We are overly competitive but not at all serious which means that we always have fun regardless of who wins.

9.30 PM

I give the dogs one last cuddle, say goodnight to my housemates and head upstairs to bed ready to do it all again tomorrow!

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