Name: Sepani Senaratne
Position: Director of Academic program, UG Construction Management
Company: Western Sydney University
What do you enjoy the most, working in the field of construction & development?
As a university academic in the construction management field for nearly 20 years, what I enjoy most is seeing our students learn and grow with us and settle in attractive careers in the construction industry. My specialisation is in quantity surveying. At high school, I found myself good at mathematics and was looking for a profession that would enable me to work with numbers. My father being an architect, inspired me to choose a career in the construction industry. I found quantity surveying as a good match and eventually ended up as a senior lecturer in quantity surveying/construction management. I also enjoy coaching research students and junior staff, not only on their work but also towards their own personal development.
Where do you see your life in the next 5 years, what possibilities are ahead of you?
The construction industry is moving to an era of digitalisation, industrialisation, globalisation, and sustainable practices. As the current Director of the Undergraduate Construction Management program, I will explore opportunities to design curriculum and train our students to face these future challenges in the construction industry. Engaging in cutting-edge research in collaboration with industry partners will also enable me to feed the latest research knowledge into our teaching programs and produce future-ready graduates. In the next 5 years, I see myself taking a lead in these initiatives.
If you could write a letter to a 13-year-old ‘you’ what would you say?
Do what you believe in and give your best to do it right! It is too early to decide on your future career at this age. Whatever you choose to do, do it with great interest, as that in some way will add value to your future life. Do not worry about being perfect or the best, but try to be a better person today than you were yesterday. While you are exploring yourself, it is fine to fall into wrong paths or fail. All these will count as lessons learned to become successful in the future. School days are the best times in one’s life, where there are fewer responsibilities and worries. Enjoy it fully!
What are 3 skills you have had to develop to get to where you are presently?
I see my journey slow but steady, balancing both my professional and personal life, as the only child to my aging parents, a wife and a mother of two teen sons. I believe my high commitment to any work that I undertake; effective organisation, and eager to continuously learn and improve myself, are the 3 topmost skills that got me to where I am today.