At just 24 years of age, Whangārei’s Jamie Scott is already managing teams of up to 12 people and playing a lead role in helping his company build vital infrastructure that improves the lives of Northland communities.

After leaving school early, the 2022 Civil Contractors New Zealand Northland Trainee of the Year has worked his way up to project manager at Clements Contractors and recently completed his New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Civil – Level 6) while on the job.

He enjoys the challenge of making an infrastructure project come to life from a design on paper, as well as the constant problem solving that keeps things interesting.

“Every day there’s a problem you’ve got to work out. Sometimes halfway through a project you think it will never all come together and then when it happens it’s pretty cool.”

Jamie spends roughly a third of his day on site, with the rest in the office, managing projects and teams of up to 12 people, looking after clients and quoting for jobs.

“I’m also lucky enough to still be able to have a play in the digger about once a week.”

The projects he’s worked on range from SH1 leading into Whangārei and building sea walls at One Tree Point alongside Whangārei Harbour, to earthworks and putting in roads, pipes and underground services for subdivisions – including planned Kāinga Ora housing developments.

Confident in a leadership role at the age of 24, and with the experience and qualifications to back it up, Jamie is a great example of where you can get to if you make the most of all the opportunities available to you.

Early on Jamie knew he wanted to leave school as soon as he could – “I’d had enough”. After working at Bunnings one of his teachers referred him to engineering consultancy Cook Costello, which offered him a cadetship, and he became an engineering technician at the age of 17.

Cook Costello gave him a great opportunity to soak up experience in a range of areas including geotechnical investigation, surveying, and drafting.

Then, after a break to nail some study, he worked for Downer and went from wearing button-up shirts and leather shoes in the office to Hi-Vis jackets on site.

“That appealed to me a lot more than sitting in an office” he says.

The rest is history, and he is now working in more of a management role. He says working for mid-sized or smaller-sized contractors provides valuable experience in different types of work and has less barriers to development.

“You’ve got a lot more freedom and room to learn”.

Clements Contractors is family orientated with a great work-life balance, and he’s been trusted with a lot of responsibility.

Jamie was recognised as the 2022 Civil Contractors New Zealand Northland Trainee of the Year for his commitment to personal development whilst working, despite – he says – only figuring out “how to really study” by the last year of his engineering diploma.

He said his wife has been a pillar of support, helping him deal with the pressure of study over “a lot of tough nights”.

Outside of work Jamie enjoys spending time with his wife and his dog Winston, as well as preparing his drift car to take part in competitions at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in northern Waikato.

His advice to job seekers looking to develop a career in civil construction, apart from bringing a can-do attitude and good people skills, is to just get into it and try to do any type of work that comes up.

“If you don’t turn down opportunities you will progress – try whatever is thrown at you.”

Video: Jamie was part of the team that worked on upgrading of SH1 into Whangārei