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The Colab Group: Professional Development for Young Professionals in the Construction Industry

The Colab Group is a series of rotating professional development sessions for young solicitors, barristers, consultants, owners and contractors in the construction industry.  It was successfully launched in Brisbane last year and has since gained significant traction and coverage with further series planned in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Philadelphia and London.

A bit of History

Starting in Brisbane, the Colab group immediately gained interest from two law firms and a barristers chamber.  The events proceeded on a round-robin basis with each firm taking turn to host and discuss topics that were decided by the group.

In the inaugural event, HKA’s Brisbane team  presented on programming,  delay analysis, and considerations when producing an expert report.

Two further sessions were held in Brisbane, hosted by barristers and lawyers respectively.  The topics included the tips and traps when providing expert evidence,  proceedings during a hearing, and entitlement  on extension of time under Australian contracts.

What are the benefits?

The Colab series breaks the mould of traditional seminars where experienced speakers deliver a presentation in front of a large audience.  While such events are a great platform for sharing information among many people, they are not ideal for fostering interaction, discussion and learning.

The Colab sessions are purposely kept small to create an informal relaxed setting to share knowledge and develop relationships.  This allows for a back-and-forth interaction between the presenter and audience so points can be clarified to assist learning and develop ideas fully. The gathering of a broad range of professions in the construction industry also encourages the sharing of alternative viewpoints and expertise on topics.  

The sessions are also a rare opportunity for young professionals to connect with peers who are at a similar stage in their careers.  This dynamic worked well because attendees were able to link up with colleagues of comparable experience to discuss challenges and opportunities relevant to them.

What is the format?

While COVID-19 restrictions are in place, upcoming  sessions will be delivered via online video conferencing.  Each session begins with introductions followed by a presentation. To foster discussion, attendees will be divided into small groups in virtual breakout rooms to answer questions raised during the presentation.  The virtual breakout rooms provide opportunities for attendees to connect and get to know each other.  All sessions conclude with the opportunity to continue discussions in virtual breakout rooms.

What’s Next?

If you or your company would like to find out more about participating in upcoming Colab Groups in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or Perth, please contact Timothy Dunn on +61 438 940 260 or TimothyDunn@hka.com

The Colab sessions are purposely kept small to create an informal relaxed setting to share knowledge and develop relationships.”
David Strain, Dorota Gutkowska HKA
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