Cadets' stories

School Infrastructure Cadets study a variety of business and industry related course, and their on-the-job cadetship complements this study providing the opportunity for practical application.

a group shot of the 2023 Cadets a group shot of the 2023 Cadets
Image: Our 2023 cadets with the Chief Executive, School Infrastructure NSW, Anthony Manning (centre)

What does a cadetship involve?

Holly Parker has created a video her day showing the variety, the work and importantly how all activities of School Infrastructure NSW provide positive outcomes for students in our public schools.

Watch or read her story below:

Holly Parker shares what a day in her life as a NSW School Infrastructure cadet involves.

00:00:00:00 - 00:00:55:25

Hi. My name's Holly Parker, and I'm a fourth-year student studying a bachelor planning Macquarie University. And currently I'm undertaking my placement at School Infrastructure in New South Wales. And today I'll be showing you what I get up to as cadet and State government. School Infrastructure, or SI is part of the New South Wales Department of Education that specializes in the planning, delivery and maintenance of educational facilities across the state that are fit for purpose and promote safe, healthy and inclusive learning environments for all students across a large portfolio of over 2000 schools.

00:00:56:03 - 00:01:20:24

As a cadet, I am primarily with the sustainability team to help them deliver sustainable buildings compliant with internal and external standards and accreditations such as Green Star buildings through school design. I work on a wide variety of tasks from comparing schools, energy consumption and solar capabilities to taking minutes for events such as focus groups and refreshing the department's commitment to sustainability targets.

00:01:20:27 - 00:01:43:18

I also undertake an individual project with environmental education centres and work with the other cadets on a self-driven project to switch Bunsen burners to electric hot plates to reduce the organization's reliance on gas and move towards net zero. During my time in this placement, I decided to focus on building my skills in three key areas one time management.

00:01:43:25 - 00:02:14:01

Since it's a fundamental skill that I have always been particularly bad at to communication, which is key to any professional position, but particularly in the planning industry, with stakeholder engagement being such a fundamental part of what we do and is something that I had no previous experience with prior to my placement, and finally gaining a deeper understanding of planning legislation and associated laws, regulations, controls and policies which I had had some contact with through university and a previous position.

00:02:14:07 - 00:02:46:27

But I wanted to expand my basic knowledge further. I have been building on these skills through a combination of formal training, observation and practical application. In my time, as I've been given opportunities to grow by helping me understand how the industry and business work and where I fit into all of that through participating in a project management course, shadowing other team members in the technical stakeholder meetings, working across projects and contacting schools, suppliers and other teams within, as I have also been able to attend to on-site visits, which helped me put my work into perspective.

00:02:46:29 - 00:03:13:00

One of the challenges I've faced is just trying to understand everything. Since there are so many industry and business specific terminologies, standards and processes that I'm just not familiar with which pop up in my work every day. But I think my biggest challenge with this new role is finding out that you can be a planner without having to fit into solely two categories of development applications or strategic.

00:03:13:03 - 00:03:37:12

There is actually a lot more nuance than that with side branches like push management and sustainability, population demographics and more, which has been a really big mentality shift for me since starting my placement. I have found that SI is all about continuous learning and asking what can we learn from each other? So, throughout my placement I've been asking myself what have I learned and what else can I learn?

00:03:37:15 - 00:03:56:09

Throughout the day, I write down what work and meetings I do to help me keep track of what I have done and manage my time more effectively. From there, I use the cycle of reflection to ask myself what happened? How do I feel about it? Was it good or bad? What could I have done and what could I do next time?

00:03:56:12 - 00:04:15:12

This method helped me organize my thoughts and learn from incidences which I would have normally just brushed over throughout the first couple of years of uni. I didn't actually know what a planner does and I struggled to see where I was going and how our course content was relevant to what I would be doing day to day in industry.

00:04:15:15 - 00:04:37:22

But through the PACE unit and my placement and the intentional ongoing learning and reflection, it teaches, I'm beginning to understand what I can do and I have a long way to go, but I'm excited to see what happens.

So, after all that, it's time for me to go home. I hope you enjoyed following me around today and found my experience helpful to understand what planners can do and what placement is like.

00:04:37:24 - 00:04:41:26

Good luck with your studies and I hope to see you in industry soon.

Hear what the cadets are saying:


  • Teaching and learning


  • Web page

Business Unit:

  • School Infrastructure NSW
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