Fifty-three cadet engineers in the Charles Sturt School of Computing, Mathematics and Engineering are employed in a range of engineering roles with regional councils, corporate engineering consultancies, government departments and a construction company.
Engineer-in-Residence and Course Director in the Charles Sturt Engineering program Ms Shara Cameron said it’s good news for engineering students and graduates that civil engineering and construction management (a career path for civil engineers) are listed in a federal government report in late August naming the top 10 in-demand professions for the next five years.
“Charles Sturt University is delivering on its objective to provide engineers for regional Australia, and although graduates have job opportunities all around Australia, they are choosing to work and live regionally,” Ms Cameron said.
“This includes our graduates who are working in Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra, the Blue Mountains, Wollongong and the South Coast, and across regional NSW.
“Seven are employed with regional councils, six with corporate engineering consultancies, five with government departments or agencies, and one with a construction company. One graduate is studying for a PhD.”
Ms Cameron said the 53 Charles Sturt cadet engineers are employed in engineering roles with placements in the Central West, Greater Sydney and the Central Coast, Wollongong and the Illawarra, Wagga Wagga and the Riverina, Port Macquarie and Taree on the Mid North Coast, Albury-Wodonga, and in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
And for the first time one cadet is working overseas in the UK, gaining engineering design experience in Leeds while continuing his studies.
“Employment of cadet engineers is one of the ways we can sustain the infrastructure boom we are having across Australia,” Ms Cameron said.
“The cadet engineers do four year-long placements while they study online and complete their degree, which is why Charles Sturt engineering graduates are so in demand and we are seeing full employment.”
Charles Sturt cadet engineer Ms Georgina Wills (pictured) who grew up in Bathurst is currently in her fourth year of placement at Orange City Council, working as a cadet in the Water and Sewer Department.
“Throughout my schooling years I was always drawn to practical subjects and problem solving,” Ms Wills said. “During Year 12, I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduating high school.
“When I saw the Charles Sturt MyDay for engineering program, my mum encouraged me to attend. After the MyDay I applied for early entry into the Engineering course and was accepted.”
Ms Wills’ father is an engineer at Bathurst Regional Council and when she was younger, he used to drive her around town and show her the different types of infrastructure that he designed, including roundabouts and sections of roads.
“At the time I didn’t show much interest and didn’t understand the excitement, until I visited my own intersection designs that had been constructed in Orange,” she said.
“There is just something so amazing about seeing a design or project that you have put a great deal of time and effort into be constructed and being used by the community.”
Ms Wills said her placement experiences have included a variety of engineering disciplines and the Charles Sturt Engineering program Topic Tree (subjects) has allowed her to dive into the diverse specialities of engineering depending on the focus of each of her year-long placements.
“My placement structure has allowed me to rotate through the engineering sub-departments including Engineering Design, and Roads and Drainage,” she said.
“I love working in local government and hope to continue working regionally after I graduate.
“I really enjoy what I am currently doing, which is managing various water and sewer projects, as well as operational planning and maintenance of essential water and sewer assets.
“I would like to gradually build my skills to progress my way to higher engineering positions and opportunities within regional organisations.”
As recently announced, Charles Sturt University has partnered with Transgrid to support the next generation of Australian civil engineers through their tertiary education with the launch of the Transgrid Civil Engineering Scholarship Fund.
The scholarship fund will provide $2 million over the next seven years to support the education of 100 civil engineering students at the University in Bathurst.
Ms Cameron said as well as helping these students access learning facilities and teachers, the courses will also expand their career pathways through paid cadetships with Transgrid and other organisations.
“This includes many NSW local councils, which have taken on Charles Sturt Engineering students for long-term work placements, an arrangement which has seen important infrastructure realised in Australian towns and cities,” she said.
The scholarships are available to 100 students commencing either the Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Honours) or Bachelor of Technology (Civil)/Master of Engineering (Civil) courses at Charles Sturt over the next four years.
Applications for the 2023 scholarships close on Friday 25 November and can be made via www.csu.edu.au/transgrid-scholarship.
See also the Engineers Australia discussion paper (March 2022) and a new Engineers Australia report, Strengthening the engineering workforce in Australia (engineersaustralia.org.au).