Shear determination gets Bianca her dream job
The Level Crossing Removal Authority attracts workers from many different backgrounds and while it may not seem like the usual career path, Melton Highway Level Crossing Removal Project worker Bianca Round’s time as a hairdresser and work experience in a shearing shed provided the perfect launching pad for a move into construction.
Growing up in Wedderburn, a tiny country town north west of Bendigo, becoming a construction worker was not initially on Bianca’s radar. Her first job was as a hairdresser: a job that ended up taking her from Bendigo to London, to Melbourne.
“I worked as a hairdresser for 15 years, and the last five as a barber,” Bianca says. “I didn’t cut the hair of anyone famous but I saw both Molly Meldrum and Jerry Springer in the barber shop – unfortunately the boss got to cut their hair, not me!”
Bianca’s move into construction came via a three-year stint in office administration for BMD Constructions on the Port of Melbourne and Melton Highway projects.
“Coming from a background of standing up and talking all day to sitting down behind a keyboard in silence all day was a real challenge,” says Bianca. “I just wanted to get outside and be more active – I get more satisfaction out of practical work than computer work.”
Bianca realised there was a lot of opportunity on the Melton Highway Level Crossing Removal Project and approached Brad, the BMD Melton Highway superintendent.
“I’ve got two horses and Brad’s daughter is a really talented rider. I think he thought that I must have a little bit of get-up-and-go because people who own horses are generally hard working, so he offered to put me on as a labourer on Melton Highway,” she says.
Her lucky break came in January this year, and she hasn’t looked back.
“I love it. I’m not loving the cold June mornings, but I love it,” says Bianca.
“Every single day changes and that’s why I like it. It could be anything from drainage, getting levels, rolling materials with the machine to compact the earth, stormwater works, pits…”
When asked what she likes most about her role is, Bianca does not hesitate.
“The best part about my role is learning everything that goes into a construction project,” she says.
“I’ll never look at a footpath the same again! There’s so much detail involved in building a footpath or a bridge.”
Her experience working in her dad’s shearing shed, and in a barber’s shop with male-only clients, has stood her in good stead for her current role – one that has historically been dominated by men.
“I’m used to chatting with guys and I’m comfortable,” Bianca says.
“Sometimes it can be quite challenging physically, but no one expects you to do anything that you can’t do and if it is unsafe, we use a machine or work out a safe way to do it.”
And her advice for women wanting to make a career change?
“Give it a go!” she says. “And get a good conditioner. Being outside in the wind and dirt is tough on my hair. I also recommend a good face cream.”
For job opportunities across Victoria’s major road and rail projects, visit the Big Build website.