Where did you grow up?
One key stage I am drawn to talk about is my uni degree and the hands-on experience gained throughout. Practical projects made up one entire unit per semester, from second-year until graduation, involving building robots to navigate through mazes autonomously and programing a miniature factory line to sort through different property blocks safely and efficiently. Since graduating, I’ve found the industry has adopted much similar hardware and process implementation philosophies as those I learnt in these practical units, thus I’ve been very grateful for the experience. As important as it is to learn the theory, I’ve found getting your hands dirty and completing practical work really cements understanding of key concepts.
Having the opportunity to complete my vac work with Monadelphous was a fantastic starting point to my career. This gave me the opportunity to work in the technology and innovation team working on some projects which are producing great benefits for the company’s clients. One example being an inspection bot designed to minimise the downtime associated with skirt replacement underneath transfer chutes for conveyor systems. Also over the 3 months in the vacation program, I had visited Cape Lambert Port, Karratha Gas Plant, Nickel West at Kalgoorlie, and Boddington Gold Mine. On a couple of occasions, my supervisor even sent me along by myself, to manage some of the projects I was working on and see if I would sink or swim. I’m happy to say I learnt fast and it was amazing to get the level of exposure to help kick start my career in the mining game.
How did you get to your current job position?
I landed my current job with Newmont through their online careers page. This came after having a discussion with Newmont representatives at the Curtin Careers Expo who suggested I applied for the Mechanical, Electrical, and Instrumentation and Control Graduate Engineering Positions given my discipline of Mechatronics. I then was invited for an interview for the Electrical Engineering position. They recruiters liked me but decided that I appeared more Mechanically Minded than electrical and offered me that position, with the promise that they would give me the opportunity to complete some electrical work while being a part of the graduate program. I have been part of the program as a Graduate Mechanical Engineer for just over a year and fortunately have had the opportunity to wear many hats in that time already.
How did you choose your specialisation?
I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up and still figuring that out. However, I knew that I wanted to give myself as much diversity as I could in the Engineering stream. “Jack of all trades, master of none”. This is what led me down the path of mechatronics. Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Robotics and Computer Science all touched on throughout my degree allowing for the diversity I wanted coming out of uni. I don’t know what I want to specialise in yet, however, Newmont understands that and are allowing me to get a piece of all the opportunities offered in the company that I show an interest in.
I was hired as a Mechanical Engineer because they found that was the field I resonated with during my interview. However, I have explored Instrumentation and Control Engineer opportunities whenever they appear.
What was your interview process like?
Any interview is daunting, however, I’ve found taking some time to learn about the company, and having a couple of life experiences to use for possible questions, can do wonders for the stress levels walking into that room. The interview was made up of a face to face meeting and then a group activity, to see how we interact and deal with certain pressures that would exist at the workplace. The activity we were tasked with, got was to prepare and present to a board of executives, a feasibility study for creating a fully autonomous mine in less than 30 minutes. No further information was given and they had to see how a group of 8 of us would work together, to define the brief and propose solutions for some of the challenges posed.
In the face to face meeting, the questions did not feel directly related to the technical knowledge I had learnt at uni, but rather what kind of person I was. One of the questions asked was “to name a time I was put in a stressful environment with a problem to solve and how did I fix it”. My answer was not university or work-related, but based on my hobby of four-wheel driving, during an occasion when I overcame some engine troubles out in the middle of the bush, with very little knowledge or tools at my disposal.
What does your employer do?
Gold Mining Company
What are your areas of responsibility?
Currently, my job is broken up into 2 main roles:
Can you describe a typical workday?
No two days are the same at work, which I really enjoy. Usually, I try to keep chipping away at my small projects, however, if more pressing concerns are raised by crews or other colleagues, they take priority. Currently, I am looking at purchasing a new machine to increase safety, relating to the ball mills, while also completing a scheduled inspection on the water lines leading into the underground mine.
What are the career prospects with your job?
Typically for Engineers at Newmont, there are generally two main pathways to pursue. Either follow the technical specialist path or leadership pipeline. Both are on my radar at the moment but always felt a tug towards leadership. So this would involve moving up the chain from “manager of self” to “manager of others” which is something that I would like to aspire to within the engineering field.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
If I wasn’t a Mechanical Engineer at Newmont, I believe I would be exploring different branches of engineering with a different company. Whether that Mechanical, Electrical or Instrumentation related I can’t say.
What do you love the most about your job?
Collaboration on projects is always something I’ve enjoyed. To bring in multiple experts to ensure the best solution is reached I’ve always found fun as you usually learn a thing or two as well. Furthermore, I like a high paced environment which is designed to push you. It keeps you busy learning and while sometimes it can get stressful, I’ve found it to be a positive driving force for my ongoing personal development.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
The biggest limitation I would say is the nature of working on one of the most remote mine sites in Australia. This limits the resources available to be used to resolve an issue I may be working on at any given time Furthermore, as a graduate, I am always trying to learn from people, but due to the rostering arrangements onsite, this limits the access I have to certain staff, which can be challenging when requiring assistance on specific tasks.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?