For both students who share an interest in STEM and how things work – this would be their first taste of what engineering could look like as a career.
For Phil Gardiner, IrwinConsult Managing Director, this was a continuation of our commitment to identifying, and nurturing new talent.
“We have had great success with work experience students in the past,” said Phil.
“One of our now senior engineers, Simon Di Pietrantonio, did work experience with us when he was in Year 10. He then did an undergraduate internship and joined us as a graduate. He is still here today, and is one of our rising stars.”
Andy Cross, Head of Talent Acquisition & Mobility, agrees that this is the way forward.
He said, “The idea of developing a new talent pool has to be the end goal and you do that by engaging at a high school level and pre-high school to nurture and develop STEM career paths.”
However, he also acknowledged the challenges that come with such an approach.
“It's difficult with high school students because they're not likely to be prospective employees for another four or five years and people want choice,” he continues. “Nevertheless, it’s important for us to lead the way and encourage the next generation into STEM professions.”
Is it possible to keep the spark alive during this tumultuous time of growth, change and self dicovery or are cases like Simon the exception to the rule?
Stay the Course
For Boundless co-founder Sonia Loudon, the answer is yes.
She says, “Work experience and workplace visits are consistently rated by Australians as more influential than any other career resource they accessed at school.”
Boundless is an organisation which connects students from outer-suburbs and regional schools with work experience in the most hard-to-reach professions.
They’re experiencing a big demand for work placement in the STEM fields and it’s usually where students need the most guidence because they have a very small understanding of what STEM actually entails.
“One of the best things about work experience is being able to deepen the students’ understanding of careers in specific fields such as engineering.
“They’re able to see the applications of science and mathematics to real, specific and stereotype-busting jobs.”
Commenting on the recent placement Engineers Australia helped facilitate with IrwinConsult, Alesha Printz General Manager – Victoria Division says, “Providing opportunities for students to better understand engineering is integral if we want to encourage young people to join the profession.
“Our industry is crying out for a strong pipeline of engineers so employers need to provide opportunities for our future professionals through high school work experience, university student internships and then graduate placements when they complete their degrees.”
Different People Same Goals
So, what makes a good engineer?
If you ask Phil, the first five attributes that come to mind are mathematical ability, problem solving passion, creativity, communication and self-awareness.
He says, “The first two are mandatory and the rest are valuable. Rarely does anyone have it all.”
Andy’s answer is almost identical, adding that the process of successfully acquiring a good hire takes many different people, working in different capacities towards the same goal.
“The quality of the hire is associated with everybody in the process, which is how it should be,” said Andy.
“There's no one person who owns how successful a new hire is going to be.”