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Queensland University of Technology
Undergraduate Electrical Engineer
Jordan studied electrical engineering at Queensland University of Technology
What's your name? What are you studying? Who are your mob?
My name is Jordan Bartlett. I study electrical engineering and am set to graduate in 2018. I am an undergraduate electrical engineer. My mob is the Lamalama people of Princess Charlotte Bay in Northern Queensland.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the small, rural town of Chinchilla where I attended St Joseph’s Primary School until grade seven, and Chinchilla State High School until grade nine. After grade nine, I moved to Toowoomba where I attended St Mary’s College. I then moved to Brisbane where I would begin studying engineering at QUT once I graduated in 2014.
How did you get your internship?
I got my internship through the CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Program and I have been interning at AECOM for 3 years now.
What was your interview process like?
The interview process was pretty straightforward. I was asked to come in for an interview, I completed the interview and a couple of weeks later I received a phone call letting me know I was interning over the winter break. I have kept coming back to intern every summer since.
Have you faced any obstacles as an Indigenous student?
One of the obstacles I did face as an Indigenous student from rural Queensland was that when growing up in small country towns, there were never any Indigenous role models in the business world to look up to. The only successful Indigenous people to look up to were sports stars, which made it feel like the only way to become successful as an Indigenous person from rural Queensland, was to become a sports star.
When I found out that it was possible to pursue further education and become an engineer, I took the opportunity where I could. Now that I am nearing graduation and have been interning throughout my degree, I still feel from personal experience that some people think I have only got this far as I have had a free ride for being Indigenous; whereas if I was successful through sport it would have been on my own merit. This is why I am glad to see that there are many more companies supporting and providing opportunities for Indigenous students, making Indigenous participation in the workforce more common.
Was your Indigenous heritage ever an advantage?
I find my Indigenous heritage an advantage as it gives a connection to Australian land that no other heritage possesses. This trait is a massive advantage in an area such as engineering, as engineering deals with many projects that are on Indigenous land, and I am able to provide a unique perspective to any project undertaken.
Being Indigenous was also an advantage as there are incentives for Indigenous people, especially in education. I was able to access tutors and other resources to help me through my degree, which may not have been as easily accessible for others.
How did you choose your specialisation? Were you weighing up any other alternatives before choosing this specialisation?
I chose this specialisation because from a young age I liked maths and science. When weighing up options for the future in high school, engineering stood out because it was a very maths and science heavy degree and occupation. It seemed like a good fit for me.
Suppose a student was considering your career. What would you advise them to study?
[For] someone who wants to be an engineer, they should study engineering.
Are there any soft skills it would beneficial for them to develop? Should they pursue any sort of work experience?
One major soft skill that can help is the ability to network, as it allows you to expand your possibilities whether within a company or between others. This allows you to have more opportunities in your career, and gives you other people to seek help or guidance from.
Every undergraduate should seek work experience, as it again increases your network and allows you to learn more about the industry you are going into, making you ready for work upon graduation. It also lets you experience what work will be like and if this pathway is the one for you.
What does your employer do?
AECOM is an engineering firm that offers design, consultancy, construction, and management services.
What are your areas of responsibility?
I work in resources, power, and industry in the electrical and instrumentations team. I am responsible for consulting and designing on electrical projects, predominantly in the mining sector.
Can you describe a typical work day? What was the last thing you worked on?
On a typical day, I will come into work and work on whatever the next project that needs to be issued is. The last project I worked on was a lighting design for an underground mine shaft.
What sort of person succeeds in your career?
Someone who succeeds in my career is someone willing to work hard, who is able to solve problems, and work with clients to provide high-quality work on projects.
What are the career prospects with your job? Where could you or others in your position go from here?
At the moment, I would just like to get into the graduate program at AECOM and see where that can take me. Others in my position could end up as CEO of the company.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes, anyone from any background willing to put in the effort can become an electrical engineer.
A word to the wise...
How important is it for Indigenous youths to stay connected with their communities?
It is important to stay connected with communities as they provide support and encouragement as you pursue your goals and aspirations. By staying connected, it may also provide an opportunity to give back and support someone else trying to find a pathway similar to yours, and being able to pave the way will provide opportunities for others.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to Indigenous students nearing graduation?
1) Take every opportunity. Don’t be scared to push yourself out of your comfort zone. In my first year of interning, I was given the opportunity to speak at the AECOM leadership conference, which was one of the scariest and most rewarding opportunities of my life. I was able to practice public speaking and boost my confidence in general.
2) Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, and try things before looking for help. I find the best way to learn is by trying it yourself and making mistakes, as you learn more from those mistakes than asking someone else how to do it and not really learning what you have done.
3) Work hard. Nothing happens overnight so you need to be willing to put in the hard work to get to where you want to be.