Securing a cadetship in construction

by Oct 15, 2021

UTS Careers are regularly approached by Construction Project Management students who are eager to get some advice and support on how to secure a cadetship. 

All students undertaking an undergraduate degree in Construction Project Management are required to complete a minimum of 200 days’ industry experience during the course, which provides essential professional exposure. For most students this entails paid employment in the industry with contractors and consultants (typically called cadetships). 

I recently caught up with Stephanie Nguyen to ask her about her experience of securing a cadetship and what advice she has for students who are at the beginning of this process. 

Stephanie is a 2nd year Bachelor of Construction Project Management student, President and Co-founder of the Built Environment Association (BEA), and an emerging leader in the construction industry. 

Stephanie recommends students start applying for cadetships in the second year of the degree, emphasising that the first year is ‘a foundational year that will help students prepare for their cadetship and understand the principles of construction before going on site’. 

This doesn’t mean however, that you can’t start planning in first year, so between the two of us, Stephanie and I have come up with some strategies that can help you to get started. 


1. Join one of the fastest growing and proactive student societies in 2021 – the Built Environment Association (BEA)

The BEA was established by passionate students keen to support students across UTS with their personal and professional development and to connect them with industry. For a small fee, you can become a member and attend professional and social events, connect directly with potential employers, and learn about opportunities early. 


2. Connect with construction company HR departments

In Careers, we often encourage students to reach out to UTS Alumni who are working in construction to build connections and learn more about the industry and different companies. 

Stephanie also suggested contacting human resources departments directly as they are often the people looking out for future cadets. Contacting them directly will keep you on their radar for future opportunities. 

To begin your search, check out job opportunities on CareerHub, GradConnections, and gradaustralia


3. Connect with peers who are working in the industry

You have probably noticed that some of your peers have managed to secure a cadetship. Ask questions about their experience and if it sounds like an employer you are keen to work for, let them know you are looking so they can keep you in mind when they hear of any future opportunities. 

You might also consider being brave enough to ask them for a connection in the company that you can reach out to.


4. Update your LinkedIn profile and show more than your qualifications

As early as your first year, it is important to get skilled up with a good career management. Sign up to LinkedIn, connect with the UTS Construction Project Management Alumni, follow relevant groups (like the BEA) and begin to build a career profile online. 

In our catch-up, Stephanie mentioned that employers want to learn more about what you have studied, so although you will have your degree on your profile, consider showing a bit of your personality through your employment and extracurricular involvement. 

To learn more about how to get started on LinkedIn, check out UTS Careers LinkedIn resources


5. Obtain your white card before you start applying for cadetships

A white card is a licence you will need to obtain independent of your degree to work on a construction site. Try to do this before you start your second year and start looking for cadetships. 

It would be beneficial to let employers know that you have a white card on application in case they want to get you to start immediately.  

For additional resources and support, please reach out to


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

Ruth Wilcock

Ruth Wilcock

Careers Consultant

Ruth is a career development professional with 14 years’ experience working across universities in Australia in the UK. She has a postgraduate qualification in learning and career development and is a registered psychologist in NSW. Ruth has coached students across all faculties and stages of learning, from secondary education to those students completing a PhD; she has also coached early career researchers and university staff. She is passionate about supporting academic staff to embed career educating into curriculum and building students confidence to make meaningful career and life decisions.