Oliver Ferrick grew a passion for sustainability during his degree that continues to develop in his work as a Civil Engineer at Morphum Environmental.
Career: Civil Engineer in the Engineering Design Team at Morphum Environmental
Programme: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
Specialisations: Civil Engineering
“I have always been interested in design. When I was at high school I studied design style papers and subjects. When I applied, I was kind of torn between Mechanical and Civil and Environmental. I'm environmentally minded anyway, so it was appealing to get into the environmental side of Civil Engineering. There was a high demand for civil engineers at the time too, and there still is, so that played a part. It was a specialisation where the variety moving forward was so grand, so I didn't feel like I was making a decision where it would limit what I might end up doing. There's still so much that I could end up doing since I chose my specialisation.
“I went into a part-time role at Morphum at the start of third year and straight away loved the culture of the company. I really enjoyed early on being able to work closely with scientists, because that was a field that I had an interest in anyway. I found my feet on the engineering design team pretty quickly, with an awesome team leader at the time.
“After uni they offered me a role as a graduate, which I keenly accepted. Being part of a small company that has really cool values such as sustainability and a good team culture meant that I was able to do some cool project work really quickly with some of the company's bigger projects. I managed some myself, even while still in a grad or intermediate role. That's developed further recently, so now I'm the team leader of the engineering design team.
“As a design engineer, I manage around 10 to 15 projects at a time, varying from small ones that take around 25 hours all the way up to large projects that develop over a year of design time. Depending on the size of the project, we normally have a project team, so prioritising and allocating tasks to the project team is up to me. I also have technical specialties where I will work on other people's projects to help them out, so I’m not just managing projects.
“I'm working on a super cool project at the moment where developer offset money has purchased land and enabled ecological restoration of a kilometre reach of stream, with the primary driver being ecological restoration and also landscape enhancement. We installed a cycleway that follows the stream and worked closely with landscape architects and ecologists to design the user experience to allow people to really appreciate the ecological enhancement of the stream. Rather than sort of following the obvious track there's parts where this cycleway will deviate down towards the stream and look at features we've incorporated. It's really cool.
“My final year project, Investigation into a Mobile Shoreline, was a good first step toward being able to have conversations about sustainability at a professional level. When employers look at CVs, having a project where you can talk about something technical is really helpful. Instead of just answering questions about exams and assignments I had something really cool that I had confidence and knowledge in. Finding a company in Morphum that actually works in this space was super handy and they were quite impressed by the work I had done. Writing the paper gives you an actual document that provides you with tangible evidence of what you can do.
"Dr Heide Friedrich, the supervisor for the project, really spurred an interest in this area for me. She was always available and really pushed me in that technical, hydraulic and fluid dynamics area. However, it wasn't until halfway through my final year where I realised how helpful and easy it is to just come up to level 11 and talk to people. I ended up being one of those annoying students who are there all time knocking on doors but I got heaps out of it and it only takes a couple of tutors to engage with you in that sort of way to add so much value to your education.
“One thing that I appreciate retrospectively is that it's more than just getting the bit of paper you want, it's actually about developing relationships and experiences that you'll use for plenty of time to come. Work hard, think about it as if you're investing in your future, and make that investment worth more than your fees.”