Charles Sturt cadet engineer on the job with Riverina Water


Charles Sturt cadet engineer on the job with Riverina Water

Charles Sturt University Engineering cadet Ms Ashleigh Hayden is thriving at her work placement with Riverina Water County Council, a foundation industry partner of the University’s internationally recognised engineering program.

  • The Charles Sturt Engineering program is an emerging leader in engineering education, with 50 cadet engineers currently in paid work placements
  • The program offers a world-class engineering education opportunity in regional NSW, provides a boost to the regional workforce, and addresses rural skills shortages
  • Cadet placements with regional councils gives young engineers a wide range of experience, a good overview of engineering, and knowledge of a range of projects

Charles Sturt Foundation Professor of Engineering, Euan Lindsay, said Ms Hayden (pictured on the job) is just one of 50 Charles Sturt Engineering cadets currently on placement, with 100 per cent of eligible students placed.

“All Charles Sturt University Engineering cadets are in paid placement employment, despite COVID-19, and this is the first year since the program began that we have students in four yearly intakes in paid placements,” Professor Lindsay said.

“We estimate that around a third of our cadet engineers are in positions that would otherwise be going unfilled at their employers, and thus we’re fulfilling Charles Sturt Engineering’s vision of providing engineering capability to the regions.”

The Charles Sturt Engineering program is an emerging leader in engineering education and consists of three semesters of on-campus projects, followed by four paid one-year cadet placements.

Ms Hayden is originally from Dubbo where she lived until she moved to the University in Bathurst in 2019 and then to Wagga Wagga in 2020 for her placement.

She is in her second year and is one of many female engineering cadets; this year’s engineering student intake was one third women.

“I work for Riverina Water County Council which provides drinking water for Wagga Wagga and surrounding shires,” Ms Hayden said.

“I am currently collaborating with each of the Riverina Water engineers to gain experience in different areas, which range from project management to water hydrology.

“My main focus so far has been about providing reservoirs for surrounding towns.”

Mr Bede Spannagle, Director of Engineering at Riverina Water, said Ms Hayden is their second CSU Engineering cadet placement, and another example of a highly motivated and intelligent young cadet.

“The cadet program provides value to both the cadet and Riverina Water,” Mr Spannagle said.

“Ash gets hands-on experience working in a variety of areas and taking on responsibilities for projects as her skills and knowledge develop.

“The cadets are encouraged to have input into project planning and design, assist in the supervision of the construction phase, and contribute to the broader engineering team, adding diversity through their younger lens.

“The engineering mentors providing Ash with guidance have commented that this mentoring experience is rewarding for them also, helping to develop their own skills as a leader within the organisation.”

Ms Hayden said the CSU Engineering program offers a lot of freedom and allows cadets to demonstrate their drive and passion.

“Despite needing a lot of self-discipline, I enjoyed the idea of being able to motivate and push myself, and I found that CSU Engineering offered this possibility – without having to sit in a classroom for eight hours a day,” she said.

Visit the Charles Sturt Engineering website to find out more about an engineering career and the opportunity to be paid while studying.

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Professor Euan Lindsay, contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0418 669 362 or via

Share this article

Share on Facebook Share
Share on Twitter Tweet
Share by Email Email
Share on LinkedIn Share
Print this page Print

Wagga Wagga Engineering Society and Community