Laying the Foundations – Gary Roberston, Operations Manager

This interview is designed to uncover the stories behind the people at Worksmart and their careers until this point. How you got to where you are today, essentially.

Gary, thanks for sitting down to answer a few questions today! Hope we haven’t caught you on a busy day?

Most days are quite busy to be honest… I don’t mind sparing a few minutes for a quick chat though.

How was your school life? Were you a good/bad student? Did you do as well as you could have in terms of grades?

School life for me was very sport orientated, I was very active in school, especially with football and squash. I wasn’t a particularly great student but academically I passed every exam that I studied for.

It’s difficult to say if I did as well as I could have done; probably not, as my main focus at school was sport. Every day I was either training or competing so even though it probably shouldn’t have been, sport was my number one priority back then.

Did construction appeal to you when you were young?

Sport was always my number one choice for a career, but after receiving a bad knee injury, any hopes I had of pursuing it as a career were dashed. When I was looking for a job it was very hard to get an apprenticeship in my area, so I knocked on every construction builder’s door until finally it paid off and I got an apprenticeship in joinery.

What were your next steps after high school?

I went straight into construction, through my apprenticeship. I was lucky that way. So many kids leave school not knowing what they want to do and with no structure. That’s why I’m so pleased when I see the apprentices coming through Worksmart. They’re given such a great opportunity and education and at Worksmart we’re helping so many people find a career; great careers too!

At that point could you have imagined yourself in the position you are now?

I was very fortunate that I came off the tools at aged 26 which is very early. I was involved in major refits, so I was working very close with the top management and that is when I decided that I wanted to progress. I think having that competitive edge in me from my sporting days helped me in that sense. I was always looking to improve and better myself.

What came before Worksmart professionally for you?

I was with Morris and Spottiswood working on Universities, retailers. I have worked on most sectors of the building trade, so I feel I have gained experience on all aspects of construction.

When did you first hear about Worksmart and what were your initial thoughts?

I had known about Worksmart for several years working in the fitout sector. What impressed me most was the professionalism and the high standard of work. You’d see a Worksmart job and everything would have been done to a better standard. Everything would be cleaner, more polished and that bit more impressive. For me, as someone that’s always trying to move up and progress, I saw Worksmart as the company I should be aspiring towards working for.

If you could go back and give 16-year-old you any advice, what would it be?

Don’t smash your knee! That would be my best advice! But also, work hard and always try to be better than you were yesterday. If you do that, and stay humble, you’ll get on OK in life.