Updating Results

Austal Australia

  • < 100 employees

Kevin Kwaramba

Through working at Austal, l have found myself doing things that are well outside my scope but have learnt to embrace those moments and learn which has helped immensely when l have to make decisions in my work, I have a more rounded approach in thinking.

Where did you grow up? 

I was born in Zimbabwe in the city of Harare, grew up in a small town called Bindura which is not far from Harare. I moved to Perth where l went to TAFE studying electronics and then Curtin University where l did a Bachelor of Commerce Business Information Systems which l completed at the end of 2017.

How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it? 

I applied twice for a graduate position at Austal. 1st time was about a year and a half before l finished university, the 2nd was the very next intake. Since accepting the graduate position, l have rotated around 4 departments to my current position, it’s been just over 2 and half years.

How did you choose your specialisation?

I initially thought about pursuing electronic – electrical engineering in the beginning mostly because l enjoy building and finding out how things work until l broke one of my fingers playing indoor soccer. During my recovery l was introduced to Information Systems which deals with managing business information efficiently and effectively using computer systems and technology, which meant l could leverage my understanding of electronics and learn how business processes work while finding new ways to help organise data productively.

What was your interview process like?

I did an online assessment, which was followed by a group assessment at a local assessment centre which involved a number of team based exercises. I was then invited to a one on one interview with one of Austal’s project managers where l was asked amongst other questions, what my interests where, and why l wanted to join Austal.

What does your employer do? 

Austal is an Australian-based global ship building company and defence prime contractor that specialises in the design, construction and support of defence and commercial vessels. Austal's product range includes naval vessels, high-speed passenger and vehicle ferries, and specialist utility vessels, such as offshore windfarm for turtles and crew transfer vessels.

Austal has three major ship building facilities in Henderson, Western Australia, (USA) Mobile, Alabama, Ba Ria - Vung Tau Vietnam and Balamban, Philippines. Vessel support is provided through service centres located in Darwin, Cairns and Henderson in Australia; San Diego, California; Balamban, Philippines and Muscat, Oman.

What are your areas of responsibility?

A key aspect is data analysis, Austal is currently going through a digital transformation process with the introduction of a new ERP system which requires data and testing, my contribution is data cleansing and assisting in translating process steps into use cases.

I am a part of a cohort undertaking a pilot System Engineering project as part of Austal’s attempt at plugging process gaps, build connections between departments that enable increased collaboration, traceability and accountability. My key responsibility is distilling high level engineering jargon into process maps and use cases which are then presented to a steering committee who are overseeing the project. The steering committee involves the CEO, COO and other senior members of Austal board so it is a big project with leadership backing.

Can you describe a typical workday?

My day starts very early, l am out the door by 6:20am to get to work at 7:00am. On most Mondays it’s about reports so l am usually gathering data to upload to reporting tools, once the report is ready l send it out to specific business leaders who then analyse and draw insights from that information. If there are any queries l help answer the queries or find someone who can answer if l cannot. That is the morning covered.

In the afternoon it's ad hock requests from my team members looking for solutions around specific data they may be looking for, or l am fixing a broken reporting tool through creative backwards engineering.

What are the career prospects with your job? 

Here at Austal because of the digital transformation exercise that is happening there are multiple opportunities for career progression.

Could someone with a different background do your job? 

Absolutely! Almost anyone can do my job, the key is seeking advice when you get stumped, being open to feedback and learning from mistakes, asking questions and seeking clarity, a positive mindset and expecting to be challenged.

What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now? 

I would be in hospitality, there is something appealing in meeting the needs of people and contributing to a memorable experience.

What do you love the most about your job? 

Variety, l get to do multiple tasks of varying complexity involving a cross section of people across most of Austal’s business divisions.

What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility? 

It can get quite hectic when you have to report to multiple managers and respond to queries with varying degrees of detail required, you learn soft skills that enable you to deliver required information, manage expectations as well as skills that help you complete tasks in a timely manner from peers.

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student? 

  • Start looking early for any opportunity to get some experience whether it is as an intern, graduate, casual worker. It gives you a head start meaning you learn to clean up some of the common mistakes graduates make when applying for graduate positions early, plus there is no huge time pressure to get a job once you finish university. This will mean your applications are done with more diligence and craft and you get to be 1st in line for the opportunities you want to get involved in.
  • Be open to change, sometimes the vision you have for a career limits the opportunities you take. Every now and then try find ways to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Through working at Austal, l have found myself doing things that are well outside my scope but have learnt to embrace those moments and learn which has helped immensely when l have to make decisions in my work, I have a more rounded approach in thinking.
  • Sometimes it’s better to be the dumbest person in the room. Learn from those around you. There is always someone who is smarter than yourself who you can learn from.