Jared Schnell, Downer's Graduate

Meet Downer at the virtual 2020 CDES STEM Careers Expo!

Jared Schnell

  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)

Did your career plans change as you studied?

I started my university career set on studying Civil Engineering. First year gave me a taste of the different disciplines which affirmed my original vision. While my overarching career plans stayed the same, the specifics have changed considerably. Over time I began to understand my strengths and what I found most enjoyable within the discipline. I think it’s important to use the time as a student wisely to explore different possible career avenues but not limit what you’re willing to be exposed to within your career as a young Engineer. You never know what might actually take your interest, and it’s often not what you expect.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?

I hope to have completed my Bachelor of Commerce which I currently study part time at UoA and also a Business Masters of some sort. Career wise, I expect to have gained a diverse range of experiences to propel me into whatever I find I am most passionate about. I am not 100% sure what I see myself doing in 5-10 years, however, at this stage I see myself managing people contracts and businesses.

With that in mind, I think it’s important to recognise and acknowledge the importance of your accumulated learnings, and develop a web of transferrable knowledge to draw on whatever future role you find yourself in. I see the value in continuing to rotate around the Downer business for this exact reason. 

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?

Internships and work experience have been a very valuable part of my degree. The practical application of theoretical knowledge allows you understand both how and why you construct in a certain way. I’ve been very fortunate to gain work experience through Downer over the course of my degree. This has given me the opportunity to explore a number of different areas within the business in an at a glance fashion.

It’s important to not discount anything that you are asked to do within your work experiences, more often than not you will only see the value a few years into your career. The internships opened my eyes to how many different sub-disciplines of engineering there are, and allowed me to make informed decisions on what I want to learn next. These experiences have helped me determine my likes and dislikes in the industry and will continue to hold me in good stead throughout my career.