Meet Downer at the virtual 2020 CDES STEM Careers Expo!
- Graduate Engineer - Downer
- Bachelor of Commerce / Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) conjoint (Management, Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Did your career plans change as you studied?
My parents can vouch for me when I say I’ve always been interested in working in the construction space. Ever since I was a kid I used to be fascinated by the big yellow machines you see on construction sites as you drive-by. In fact, my favourite toys I had growing up were a ride on dumper truck (which I have sadly outgrown) and a remote controlled crane! That, in combination with growing up around parents that were DIY-minded meant that it was a no-brainer for me to choose a career in construction.
Initially when I began at the University of Auckland, I knew I wanted to be within the Civil Engineering space but I was not 100% sure what area of Civil Engineering I wanted to pursue. Over the first couple of years of study, I was exposed to a range of aspects within Civil Engineering such as Geotechnical, Environmental, Transportation, Structures, Water, etc and by exploring the different aspects, I was able to experience what sort of things Engineers do. I thoroughly enjoyed the Transportation and Structures aspect which is what I ended up pursuing as my electives in my final year of studies.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?
Over the next few years I want to develop my technical knowledge and understanding within the civil construction space while working towards gaining my professional industry accreditation (CPEng). Fortunately, the diverse portfolio of projects that Downer NZ are involved in allow me to do this while working on projects that have a direct impact on the communities that we live in.
I cannot stress the importance of getting an internship or some form of industry experience anymore! You get to put your theory into practice and gain valuable experience. The skills you develop will help form a solid foundation for your career. You also get to try different things. For example, you might consider working in consulting one summer and then in contracting the next. It’ll help you choose what you want to do.
How valuable was your internship OR work experience for you as a student? How did this help you fine-tune where you wanted to head?
My internship experience played a key part when deciding what I wanted to do after finishing my studies. I started my internship work experience with Downer at the end of my second year and continued working in subsequent summer holidays and part-time during the academic year. Since Downer is a very diverse company, each summer I was working on a different project/department within the same company. It enabled me to gain a range of skills and also helped me develop my understanding of the company. I also got to meet a lot of people and formed relationships that I know will last a long time!