Although Macau has seen a recent slowdown in construction projects due to the government's policy to curb the development boom, the outlook may not be as gloomy as many think. 'The slowdown of the casino and hotel projects will be replaced by infrastructure construction work such as the expansion of the ferry terminal, the airport, transport and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge,' said Hamish Tyrwhitt, managing director of Leighton Asia, an international construction group with offices in major cities across Asia employing 2,000 staff. 'It will have an enormous impact on Macau and its construction industry,' he said. 'The existing casino developments will continue to be remodelled, adapted and upgraded to meet the demands of their clientele.' Leighton has two major projects in Macau - City of Dreams at the Cotai district and Wynn Diamond Suites, an extension of Wynn Macau. The first phase of City of Dreams will be completed in the first quarter of next year, with its second phase scheduled to open later next year. 'There will be enough work to keep us busy for the next two to three years in Macau which, in construction terms, is long-term,' he said. With the foundation and structural phase of the City of Dreams project completed, the company is seeing a shift of its hiring need from structural work to mechanical and electrical fit-out and finishing trades that require people with different skills. 'We are looking for people for the finishing work,' Mr Tyrwhitt said, adding that the company would continue to recruit and employ people until the end of the project. Wynn Diamond Suites will be a major project for the company over the next year. The extension project which involves a 40-storey hotel will be fitted with restaurants and retail outlets set to be completed by the first quarter of 2010. A large geographical coverage throughout Asia means work opportunities for Leighton's engineering professionals is unlimited. 'If there is a slowdown of development in certain areas we offer transfers for people to other areas where construction is starting to pick up,' he said. Leighton's motto is 'local knowledge and international experience', and this shows through with its overseas employment opportunities through its extensive network of offices in Asia. 'We are very much a multinational company,' said Mr Tyrwhitt, who graduated from the University of New South Wales with a degree in civil engineering and has worked for Leighton for 22 years. Besides providing staff with opportunities to work and grow at their original places of employment, the company offers them opportunities in other parts of the group if they are flexible about where they work and are willing to travel and work in different environments. 'We can provide them with points of contact and transfer people to our sister companies to work on projects from the Middle East to Australia.' Leighton Asia has had a business presence in Hong Kong for more than 30 years, and its understanding of the local market with international experience puts it on top of the pack. 'We bring global practice into local markets, merge both together and bring out the best possible outcome for our staff and our clients.' The company has recently won a contract for the extension of Ocean Park, which entails a series of facilities including parks, aquariums, restaurants, retail and parking space. 'Not only our Hong Kong staff will be involved in this project, we may bring in people from different offices to participate in this project.' Its growing demand for construction and engineering professionals has also given rise to a strong need for staff training in the company's core values. 'As we have started to grow, the need to integrate and train staff has become a key issue,' Mr Tyrwhitt said. 'We ensure people are clear about our culture and values, how they are expected to perform and behave, and have a good understanding of how the company operates.' To groom its high-flying engineers to be future senior managers, the company runs a four-year master's degree programme in engineering and construction management through distance learning with the University of New South Wales in Australia. 'We are in a growth phase at the moment,' Mr Tyrwhitt said. 'We have tripled our work in hand in the past six months and our business turnover has increased 30 per cent from last year. We have the aspiration to see significant growth in our business over the next five years and see a lot of employment opportunities.'