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Leadership and management skills have been engrained in Charlotte Cooper since well before she joined the construction industry. As a photographer by trade, working at Manteena was only meant to be an interim career change, however 5 years later that is no longer the case.

Talk to me, how did you end up at Manteena?

I was a front of house restaurant manager who had finished studying photography and I was wanting a career change. I wanted something to do that was stable until I figured out my next career move and while I was trying to get my photography business up and running full-time.

Manteena had some Project Administrator job openings, and they took a chance on me due to my cross-industry management skills. I started in 2018 and realised I was actually really interested in the construction industry and I enjoyed the work. From that administrator role I was encouraged to undertake more training and look into advancing into a Project Manager role, which I managed to do after a lot of hard work and a placement overseas on Christmas Island, where I had the chance to assist in more of the project management side of the industry for the first time.

Why Project Management?

I never thought I would end up doing this job but I found myself enjoying it much more than I was expecting. I particularly enjoy how dynamic and interesting working in the security sector is, with the ever-changing types of projects and locations making them more challenging and keeping me on my toes! I thrive in that dynamic, constantly changing area where I am working on a classified or overseas project one day, using my phone to translate emails, and then working in a local exhibition fitout the next.

It is so interesting, the different information I have learnt while working with Manteena Security is unbelievable!

How would you explain Manteena’s offering and approach?

Manteena Security offers a dynamic range of projects locally, and all over the world. They have a passion for developing skills internally and the amount of opportunities security have given me over the past 5 years is amazing. The internal and external training I have been exposed to has furthered my career, and the opportunities I have been given to visit spectacular locations is something I don’t think I would have been able to do if it weren’t for this job.

What is it like working at Manteena?

We are busy, and the work we do can be challenging, but it is definitely worth it.

Did you always think this was an area you may end up working in?

Not at all! But I am so glad this is where I have ended up.

I always wanted to be a photographer. I have a creative and detail-oriented management brain which often means it is working against itself. Similarly, I never knew that these two industries could work together and I thought I would have to give one up, but now I get to photograph completed projects and utilise my skills when I am working remotely, so the two jobs marry up really well an I am so glad I get to do both.

What would you tell anyone considering a career in Project Management or Construction Management?

Even if you don’t think you have the skills to change career or work in construction, you would be surprised with how many skills can cross from a different industry.

Management and administration skills are the same whether it is from hospitality, creative arts or construction, it is all just people management. Everything can be learned if you are eager and willing – just give it a go! There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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