Harrison Roberts

Always gravitating towards leadership and wanting a larger slice of the ‘project pie’, Harrison Roberts is now studying health project management and is working towards building better healthcare infrastructure for future generations.

Harrison Roberts studied a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at the University of Auckland, specialising in Civil and Environmental Engineering. After thoroughly enjoying his undergraduate study, he returned to the University’s Faculty of Engineering to elevate his knowledge with a Master of Engineering Project Management in Health Projects (MEPM-Health).

“I have worked as both a consulting design engineer and construction site engineer. I enjoyed both jobs but always felt myself gravitating towards team leadership and consistently wanting a larger slice of the ‘project pie’. With enough experience under my belt, I felt it was time to take the next step and become a project manager,” Harrison says.

With the inclusion of health courses as part of the programme, Harrison has enjoyed the opportunity to see the world through a different lens by learning something outside of conventional engineering and project management. “The MEPM-Health offered a segway into a unique industry with niche needs”.

Alongside his studies, Harrison is completing a paid traineeship with the Centre of Excellence - Health Infrastructure (CEHI). If accepted into the CEHI programme, these traineeships provide University of Auckland students studying the MEPM-Health with the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects, supported by experienced project managers at Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand.

“Joining CEHI was an opportunity to be paid, while getting hands-on practical project management experience. You get to work with a diverse group of people on a variety of projects, and ultimately contribute to building better healthcare infrastructure for future generations".

The combination of both part-time study and the paid traineeship has given Harrison the chance to apply the knowledge and skills he has learned to real-life projects. “ You can’t beat that hands-on learning and experience. The project management tools you learn are also applicable to any industry in the world today – the world is your oyster”.

Harrison explained that by mixing part-time study with work, he is able to benefit from a blended learning approach. “You can apply your course theory in practice, and use your experience in industry to reflect on your coursework. Sometimes theory can be difficult to understand so professional work helps make sense of this”.

Now in his final year of study, Harrison values all of the courses he has completed so far within the MEPM-Health programme. “I have learned an immense amount in the fields of project management, self-leadership, team leadership, and healthcare”.

Out of all of his courses, he has particularly enjoyed the project management courses, finding that the incorporation of theory and practice, blend of face-to-face and online learning, and both individual and group projects work allows for an easy and pleasant learning experience.

Although returning to study proved to be challenging at first, Harrison found that after a month of juggling responsibilities, he was able to find a rhythm and manage his workload. “Self-discipline and planning is key. You also have to be ‘agile’ in re-planning your workload if the need presents itself”.

Upon completing the MEPM-Health programme, Harrison hopes to begin working as a health infrastructure project manager in the healthcare industry. “I believe using my background as a design and site engineer, along with the MEPM-Health degree and my CEHI traineeship, will set me in good stead to be at the cutting edge of my practice.”