What’s your job about?
SYSTRA is an engineering consulting firm so that means that I’m helping clients understand what their needs or issues are and working with them on a day-to-day basis. I’m currently undergoing my first rotation with a senior engineer in the transport sector and I’m shadowing him through his career to get a better idea of the work he does and learn more about the company. It’s really helpful having such a good mentor because it means I can ask him anything and we talk almost everyday. He’s really good at getting me involved in “bite-sized” tasks for different areas of the business so I get to try different things and meet different people within the company. My average day usually consists of a few meetings, going through emails, lunch with colleagues, and scheduling some extra productive hours to get work done, and usually the days go by pretty quickly. As a graduate, you tend to get a lot of “odd jobs” which I don’t mind because it’s 1-2 hours of work and when you’re done you feel more accomplished rather than working on a massive project where you can’t really see the end product for a few years.
What’s your background?
I grew up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne and moved closer to the city when I was in high school which had a pretty big impact on my schooling and my friends at the time. Changing schools in Year 10 was pretty tough but it helped me become more independent and I even got my first job. While I knew working in retail wasn’t for me in the long run, my colleagues made the job worthwhile. In my final year at university, I wanted to get some industry experience so I got a job in maintenance at a chocolate mousse factory. At times, juggling full-time university and two jobs was really tough but you learn a lot about yourself and if you can prioritise your time, you can actually achieve anything. When I finally graduated, I was pretty burnt out and I quit my job and I went backpacking through Europe for 3 months. I knew it was something I really wanted to do, as my family is Italian and Maltese and I definitely want to go back soon.
Flash forward to February 2023, I got off the plane and started my new job at SYSTRA two days later. Now it’s crazy to look back on because I’ve already been working for SYSTRA for four months! The final year was stressful enough and applying for jobs made it even more stressful but I’m glad it paid off and I could focus on my exams knowing I had a position at SYSTRA.
“There are so many different projects that the management team tries really hard to put you on a project that makes sense for your background and skill set.”
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Definitely yes, all of the graduates I’ve met at SYSTRA come from different backgrounds, the only things we have in common are an engineering degree, a willingness to learn and respect for the company. There are so many different projects that the management team tries really hard to put you on a project that makes sense for your background and skill set. That being said, there are some characteristics that will help you thrive no matter what company you work for, an open mind, a good attitude and persistence go a long way.
What’s the coolest thing about your job?
My job is pretty unique because I’m working so closely with a senior engineer it’s really easy for me to know if I’m doing my job well. We have daily meetings, usually only 15-30 minutes, where we go through what I’ve done and what I’ll be doing until the next meeting. It really gives me a chance to ask any questions and get feedback. In addition, my colleagues in Melbourne make an effort to try all the different lunch spots in our area so there’s always an open invite for some good food. We also have a tennis court in our building!
What are the limitations of your job?
Engineering consulting is such a broad and overwhelming industry so sometimes it can be hard to see where you fit in. Especially as a graduate, sometimes a project lead will need someone more experienced and because it’s a client’s request, there isn’t much room to persuade them otherwise. I think the biggest limitation of my job is being underestimated, sometimes it might feel like you’re not being utilised to your full potential but I think as time goes on, people get to know you better personally and professionally and you have a better sense of belonging.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student…
To find out more about the SYSTRA ANZ Graduate Program click here.
SYSTRA ANZ’s mission is to be there where it matters; on the complex projects with the greatest impact, providing innovative solutions that will shape the future of our communities. As one of the world’s leading engineering and consulting groups, we are focused on building tomorrow’s mobility solutions today. Operating in more than 80 countries, we have designed 1 in 2 of the world’s metros and highspeed rail lines. The ANZ team is an integral part of part of our global network, backed by 9000+ experts, providing us the unique ability to be agile with global scale.
In the second year of his Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science degree at UNSW, Theo was drawn to the industry thanks to his passion for the ever-changing world of applied math and science.
He says, “I’m really interested in learning more about the various aspects of design, teamwork, testing, and construction and hope to use my internship to discover more about these issues.”
When asked more specifically about why he was interested in beginning his career within the transport industry, Theo explains, “The sky is the limit quite literally. I’m excited because there is so much innovation and investment happening right now to shape the future of Australia and communities around the world.
“By joining SYSTRA, I get to see firsthand the day-to-day role of an engineer in the rail industry and get to find out what life would look like after university. I am keen to learn under the leadership of some of SYSTRA’s most experienced professionals while also getting an idea of what roles interest me. I get to be part of an amazing team, making real change in the world of rail.”
Theo’s excitement for transport is undeniable. When asked what his dream project to work on would be – historical or future – he’s quick to state, “Japan’s levitating bullet trains. They’ve already got an incredible record of accomplishment in rail and this project, where they are using superconductors to have trains suspended in the air to reduce friction while clocking speeds over 600km/h is going to go down in the history books.”
Theo will complete 60 days’ work experience with SYSTRA over the coming months. He is due to finish his studies in 2025.
If you missed our previous article where we spoke to Lizzie Cormack, have a read here.
If you are an aspiring young professional looking for your next opportunity, check out our Graduate Program or get in touch with Nancy Nguyen.Providing opportunities for the next generation
The first of our new staff members, Elizabeth or Lizzie Cormack joined the Delivery and Growth Markets team in June 2022 and is based in Sydney.
Studying Mechanical Engineering at UNSW, Lizzie decided to pursuit a career in engineering thanks to her passion for math’s and physics at high school. She says, “I have always enjoyed numbers so naturally wanted to apply my skills in these subjects to solve real-world problems.”
Due to finish her studies in late 2023, Lizzie believes the internship is a crucial steppingstone into launching her career. She adds, “I’ll be completing my internship 2-days a week over the next 6-months. During this time, I am hoping to further develop my knowledge and learn more about the transport industry.
We love offering young and aspiring engineers the opportunity to gain valuable experience.Alison Scott, People and Culture Director at SYSTRA
“I am particularly interested in the transport industry because it means I can work on projects that are going to benefit the community for decades to come. I also want to apply my studies to a broad field so I can work on a variety of projects and expand my skillset.”
Alison Scott, People and Culture Director at SYSTRA adds, “We love offering young and aspiring engineers the opportunity to gain valuable experience. Giving them exposure to some of Australia’s biggest projects while sitting alongside some of our most experienced leaders at the start of their careers is an important part of their development and is a fantastic way for us as a business to give back to the industry.
“Our young professionals are the next wave of leaders at SYSTRA and under the guise of our core values; Excellence, Connected Teams, and Bold Leadership we are excited to welcome them to the business.”
When quizzed about her dream project – historical or future – Lizzie believes that working on Apollo-11 in the 1960’s would have to be the pick.