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UC students helping build Canberra’s newest hospital

Antony Perry

8 September 2016: Students and alumni from the Bachelor of Building and Construction Management at the University of Canberra are helping build the University of Canberra Public Hospital (UCPH) from the ground up as part of a three-year cadetship program with Multiplex.

Timnit Tessema, Liam Fahey and James Beaumont are gaining valuable on-the-job training while they study, while alumnus Ben Scott has landed his dream first job as a cadet with Multiplex, the Sydney-based construction company in charge of building the facility.

The UCPH has been designed as a sub-acute care facility – the first of its kind in the ACT – and will specialise in rehabilitation and aged care services. The hospital will also be a research and teaching facility, offering students further work-integrated learning opportunities when it opens in 2018.

The UCPH, which is being built in the north-western corner of the University campus, is part of the ACT Government's Health Infrastructure Program. It is the largest project to date to go ahead under the University's campus development plan, which aims to transform the campus and its surroundings into an integrated learning community by 2030.

University of Canberra Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Frances Shannon said the UCPH project was an example of the University's commitment to providing students with the best possible opportunities while they study.

"Getting government, industry and university collaboration is really what it's all about these days – both for our student experience and also for research at the University," Professor Shannon said.

"The three students and the graduate who are involved in this cadetship program with Brookfield Multiplex are being given the cutting-edge opportunity here to get involved in the building of a new and innovative hospital.

"As the hospital comes online, I think it will already have that sense of student involvement right from day one when the first sod was turned and people started to pour the concrete, right up to when the first patient hits the hospital."

Professor Shannon's sentiments were echoed by Ms Tessema. The second year building and construction management student said she was proud to be helping build Canberra's third public hospital.

"Having grown up in Canberra, being part of this project is just so great because I feel like it's going to change Canberra," she said.

"Being part of a project in Canberra which I'll be driving past every day once it's done, it's really good to know I did that, I helped with that and I was part of that project and that incredible team that helped out."

For Mr Scott, who completed his studies last year, construction runs in his blood and he couldn't be happier to be continuing the family tradition.

"My family has always been involved in construction," he said. "My Dad has been building in Canberra for 30 years, so I've just naturally gravitated to that.

"I think [the UCPH project] is the biggest project in Canberra at the moment and being so close to the uni as well, the opportunities that have come from this project are amazing."

Learn more about the UCPH cadets here.