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How did you get into Public Works?

  • 1.  How did you get into Public Works?

    Posted 08-07-2013 17:38
    Hi everyone,

    Just wanting to hear from different people about how they got into the public works industry. Was it through being told about it at high school? University? Parents working in the industry?

    Personally, I fell into public works by pure luck and love the variety that it provides. We need to further promote the industry to university students and at careers days, so I would like to gauge how people have become involved, areas we should target and the best way to do it.


    Kim Sedgwick
    Chair, YOUNG IPWEA Australasia

    Operations Manager (Systems)
    ARRB Group
    Vermont South VIC


  • 2.  RE:How did you get into Public Works?

    Posted 09-07-2013 11:54
    Hi all,

    I was only thinking about this the other day as Engineers Australia are doing their annual 'Discover Engineering' presentation in our area where they have practicising engineers and engineering students speak to interested high school students about the benefits of being an engineer and what engineers do. These are very beneficial presentations as i remember being a high school student (not really that long ago) and my view of what engineers did was very different to the type of work i do now

    similar to Kim i somewhat fell into local government. I had just started studying a bachelor of civil engineering by distance education through USQ not really sure which direction i wanted to go in. my job came up in the local paper and i jumped at it and i am still working in the same role today. when i first got this position my understanding of the public works engineers role was still a bit off but now 4 years later i have a very good appreciation and admiration for the role.

    I think the best things about the public works engineering profession is the job satisfaction and the variety, also the opportunity to get outside the office is a big selling point. i feel the public works engineers role is suited towards individuals who like new challenges (as opposed to same tasks every day), those who enjoy problem solving and also those who want the satisfaction of being the person behind the scenes who provides the essential services to get everyone where they need to go/provide a safe water supply/get rid of their waste/etc...

    Ta, Sam

    Samuel Curran
    Engineering Assistant
    Rous County Council
    Lismore NSW



  • 3.  RE:How did you get into Public Works?

    Posted 10-07-2013 10:48
    Morning everyone,

    Personally I am still a student but I have one or two friends that are now working in public works who also both joined the profession through pure luck. I think the problem lies with the university career fairs. Many students (not unlike myself) aren't really aware of the opportunities that are available in local council, many of whom tend to look towards private companies that are better represented in things such as career fairs, career guides and just general career information. This may not be so prominent in the short term as there seems to be a shortage of private positions which is pushing many people to look towards local government jobs.

    After attending the IPWEAvic conference, which I was luckily sponsored for out of the blue, I have developed a keen interest for this field now and believe other students may develop the same interest should they have the exposure and understanding of what local government does. The problem is that after this exposure to a potential career in local government, it's actually finding a job. There are so many municipalities and positions and there is no real open or close date (or any structured graduate program in some cases) which makes it hard for someone who is looking for a job to actually find an entry position. It's a bit disheartening to be constantly browsing for jobs and just not finding anything suitable. 

    Tran Quoc Giang



  • 4.  RE:How did you get into Public Works?

    Posted 11-07-2013 02:01

    I had similar experience to the two gentlemen below. I had just started doing my Post-graduate studies in Masters of Engineering Management (UTS) and one semester in my current position was advertised.

    The option of 9-day fortnight, new areas to learn, working with community, Pittwater Council's support towards employee training and ability to work with (under) experienced engineers lured me into my current position.

    One year onwards, still completing my Masters (one semester to go) and planning to do another one, participated in the Ultimate Challenge (that has opened a few other avenues for learning and communication) and learnt a lot. 

    Anuj Sharma
    Pittwater Council
    Asset Management Engineer
    Warriewood NSW



  • 5.  RE:How did you get into Public Works?

    Posted 11-07-2013 02:00
    Morning all,

    I have always been a community minded person - I think that has been fostered from my childhood where we lived in a fairly isolated, small community in which everyone knew everyone, we had street parties, dinner parties etc. From that it was always going to be a case that public works would appear in my career at some point.

    In my second year of uni I was fortunate to attend a talk by a group of engineers from the Riverina Eastern Regional Organisation of Councils who were presenting the option of working for a rural or regional council. The University of Technology Sydney's BE had a piggyback Diploma in Engineering Practice. To satisfy the requirements of the dip. I had to complete 12 months of work experience and I elected to come to Junee Shire Council to complete my first six month stint. Needless to say I really enjoyed the work and the lifestyle and ended up actually staying on for an additional 6 months before reluctantly returning to Sydney.

    On my return I picked up a traineeship at Penrith City Council in the design section and remained there until I was able to again return to Junee where I have now been for 4 1/2 years.

    William Barton
    Deputy Engineer
    Junee Shire Council