When Christopher Hall was undergoing his boilermaker apprenticeship with MIGAS in 2002, he couldn’t have imagined it would propel him towards a distinguished career in the built environment and engineering sectors.
Christopher is part of the new breed of apprentices choosing to gain practical experience in the manual trades before moving on to specialise in a particular area through further study.
While completing his apprenticeship with Brisbane building services group Brandons Welding Services, Christopher decided he wanted to move into an engineering field and spoke with MIGAS and his workplace about accelerating his apprenticeship and diving into an engineering degree.
“Luckily it was around the time apprenticeships were moving away from the typical four year mindset into a more competency based approach. This enabled me to undertake further study at TAFE with modules in Computer Aided Drafting and Engineering to get me ready to start my degree,” said Christopher.
After graduating from UQ Christopher leapt into the white collar workforce, working as a construction cadet with a leading project management firm where he was fast tracked through a series of promotions to take on greater responsibility, including managing a $15 million dollar build.
Christopher went on to work as a planning consultant for a specialist firm in the construction programming sector working with major clients. This involved moving into the area of claims analysis, where Christopher learnt to analyse claims of up to $10 million to compensate for the time and cost impacts on projects delayed past agreed timelines.
Christopher decided to concentrate further on dispute resolution services and joined a global consulting company as a Senior Associate managing high end claims and disputes across Australia for clients at the litigation or arbitration stage.
Christopher said being one of the only senior claims analysts with a trades background gave him a distinct advantage.
“It is the foundation for everything I do – it has instilled in me a different type of mindset. It is like the old carpenter’s saying – stand back and assess your circumstances before responding,” Christopher said.
“As a tradie you can see the end product before you start the project. I’ve also found the camaraderie you experience in the trades teaches you so much about how to manage teams and work collectively.