Tonkin + Taylor Intern Profile

Meet Tonkin + Taylor at the CDES Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Expo!

Joshua Simmons

  • Intern
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce conjoint majoring in Civil Engineering, Finance, and Accounting

Did your career plans change as you studied?
When I first began my journey of study at the University of Auckland, I had enrolled in an engineering and commerce conjoint degree solely based on the subjects which I both enjoyed and was good at in high school. I knew that I wanted to work in a place which was orientated around problem solving, but at the time I had no idea what kind of work that would entail.

Heading into university, I had never really studied any computer science or software related subjects, and so I initially figured that I wouldn’t consider any engineering discipline which involved computers or coding. As I progressed through my first (general) year of engineering, I began to take a lot of interest in my second semester software paper. The content in the paper really showcased the problem-solving side of engineering which I was after, and from this I was on the verge of heading towards the software computer systems side of engineering.

Although my most likely choice of specialisation (civil) didn’t change as the year progressed, I learned that being open to new opportunities and learning new things can make you reconsider your pre-determined career path choices. You never know what future papers could make you consider, as I experienced with my exposure to the basics of software engineering.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?
With 3 more years of study to go (including this year), I see myself graduating with my conjoint degree and eventually going on to establish myself as a young engineer with a display of strong leadership potential. I have always aspired to do big things and lead large groups of people, and I feel that working towards a future role as a project manager / director would be a step in the right direction to fulfilling this aspiration. With the world of civil engineering showcasing the amazing systems and structures which can be created, I see the sky to be the limit and I would love to be able to push the boundaries to eventually pursue and lead large projects around the world. 

How valuable was your internship / work experience for you as a student? How did this help you fine-tune where you wanted to head?
I would say that getting into a workplace which is related to your area of study/interest is the best thing that you can do as a university student. My time interning at Tonkin + Taylor was invaluable as it allowed me to connect the dots between university lecture content and its workplace applications, and it gave me an indication as to whether geotechnical engineering was something I was even interested in pursuing as a future career. Over the summer at Tonkin + Taylor, I spent my time going out to site to carry out various geotechnical tests / investigations, learning about the data which we were collecting, and processing that data back in the office using the various software packages available.

By gaining work experience at a company like Tonkin + Taylor, it allowed me to make connections with senior team members and to get a feel for whether I want to head down this path of civil engineering. At first, I didn’t know too much about geotechnical engineering, but by receiving this kind of work experience, it helped me to narrow down the sub disciplines of civil engineering which I want to pursue (with geotechnical engineering being a very probable career path that I want to head down).