Career change puts safety cadet on top of the world

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A career change into the construction industry has put Tristen Biesse on top of the world – or Victoria, to be precise.

The 24-year-old has worked the past 15 months as a safety cadet on the Bogong High Plains Road landslip project after five years as a mechanic in Gippsland.

From toiling under the hood to working high up a mountain, Tristen is thrilled with his new job and looking forward to a rewarding career in construction.

He changed jobs after joining the safety team at Whelans Group Investments, the construction partner delivering the landslip remediation works. As part of his cadetship, Tristen undertakes regular safety training with us and is completing a diploma in workplace health and safety.

He especially enjoys the combination of practical and academic work, which is equipping him with a thorough understanding of construction safety.

Tristen says the best part of his job is helping keep everyone safe on the project site – and the spectacular alpine scenery is a bonus.

The remote location of the project means he works 10-day shifts before returning to hometown Bairnsdale and son Mason, 2, for the rest of the fortnight.

Crews recently completed major remediation and prevention works to fully open Bogong High Plains Road following the massive landslip. The vital works have made travel on the iconic tourism route safer and more reliable, reducing risks of future landslips disrupting the journeys of skiers, visitors and residents.

Devastating rain in October 2022 preceded the slow-moving landslip, which buried the road above Bogong Village with debris on a mammoth scale after scouring an area of mountainside 70m high and 100m wide. Among the biggest to impact Victoria’s roads network in 40 years, the landslip led to 18 months of road and lane closures on one of the state’s busiest tourism routes. We worked closely with Whelans Group Investments to complete the works and restore 2 lane access ahead of the 2024 Winter Ski Season.

Incrementally and safely, crews excavated and removed from the road and slope about 600,000 tonnes of material – equivalent to nearly 9700 E-class trams.

During 200,000-plus work hours, crews used specialist equipment including 30-tonne excavators, all-terrain mobile spider excavators, articulated dump trucks and dozers to complete the complex works while negotiating the slope face.

Spider excavator

A spider excavator at work.

Find out more about the Bogong High Plains Road Landslip project.

Big Build Roads Bogong High Plains Road Landslip