With his new degree Martin O’Driscoll hopes to win an off-shore posting. contributed
With his new degree Martin O’Driscoll hopes to win an off-shore posting. contributed

Engineering offers significant career options

A CAREER in engineering can mean a lot more than designing bridges and infrastructure.

Take, for example, CQUniversity mechanical engineering student Martin O'Driscoll - his research project has investigated the energy-saving benefits of green roofs, comparing temperature, humidity and energy consumption in two air-conditioned shipping containers on the university's Rockhampton campus.

Martin grew up in Calliope and completed his schooling in Gladstone before enrolling with CQUniversity.

With the end of his degree now in sight he said he was keen to gain employment with an international company so there was potential for overseas postings.

"Long-term, I would like to move into more of a project management role that focuses on construction projects," he said.

Martin said the most useful aspect of his course was the availability of co-op placements (paid work placements) in relevant industries.

"The experience gained in the workforce is invaluable, cannot be learnt in a classroom, and is something that many employers look for," he said.

"After my first year as a student, I worked at Gladstone Ports Corporation for four months. For my first co-op placement, I worked for Queensland Alumina Limited for eight months.

"During my next summer holidays, I undertook vacation work at Queensland Alumina for another three months.

"My second co-op placement was during the second half of my fourth year when I worked for eight months at Queensland Energy Resources."

CQUniversity's Bachelor of Engineering (Co-op) / Diploma of Professional Practice program features two six-month paid work placements as well as project-based learning, allowing students to develop the technical and professional skills required to work as an engineer in real-life contexts and graduate with one year of industry experience.

Students can apply for work placement overseas to enhance their global learning experience. Previous students have worked in locations including the United States for bridge construction and in Switzerland for international engineering projects. According to the latest MyCareer employment forecast, demand for engineers remains strong, particularly for senior electrical design specialists, civil engineers and senior civil engineers.

Engineers look at options

RESEARCH by BIS Shrapnel suggests Australia is at its peak in terms of spending on large-scale engineering projects, with civil construction work expected to be worth $128 billion this financial year.

The high levels of investment means significant career opportunities in the engineering industry in coming years. But an engineering career can be about a lot more than building and construction. It's a multi-faceted sector with niche areas to suit a range of interests - here's a look at three you might not be familiar with:

Environmental engineer
Environmental engineers are concerned with assessing and managing the effects of human and other activity on the natural and built environment. They apply their engineering knowledge and skills to such things as environmental impact assessment, natural resources management and pollution control.

Agricultural engineer
Agricultural engineers study and advise on the use of engineering science and technology in agricultural production and management of natural resources. They apply their skills to solve problems relating to such things as sustainable agriculture, the environmental impacts of intensive agriculture and the post-harvest handling of products.

Aerospace engineer
Aerospace engineers perform and supervise the design, development, manufacture and maintenance work of all types of flight vehicles. This may include military and civilian aeroplanes, helicopters, missiles, launch vehicles, spacecraft, satellites and control and guidance systems.

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