Having completed an undergraduate degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering/Materials Science at UNSW, I’m currently working at ANSTO as part of the Graduate Development Program. This is a typical day in my first rotation as a Project Engineer for the SyMo Facility, a Synroc waste management facility, the first of its kind in the world. Further information visit https://www.ansto.gov.au/news/new-global-first-of-a-kind-ansto-synroc-facility
One snooze of the alarm later I’m awake. If I’ve prepared meals the night before, I might reward myself with another 15 minutes. Otherwise it’s usually oats, a protein shake or eggs for first breakfast.
Leave for work, ready for a mostly relaxing drive down to the Sutherland Shire with a podcast ready to go (highly recommend Myths and Legends, and Ologies).
Arrive at work – I’ve always found the surrounding greenery to be a welcome mood booster compared to the morning rush of working in the CBD. To create a schedule for the day, I first check emails, update my daily to-do list (gleefully crossing off last week’s items) and prepare for any site inspections and testing.
If there is an inspection, it’s usually first thing in the morning. I’ve been fortunate in my first rotation to be working closely with Brad, a mechatronics engineer from the previous graduate cohort. We’re both responsible for the mechanical systems in SyMo. We put on our PPE (boots, vest and hard hat), take notebooks, any relevant documents and tools and walk down to the site shed. For safety and tracking, it’s important to check in before walking into site. We then go through test documents and follow the procedure or checklist.
Inspection complete! Sometimes this runs smoothly, other times there’s unmet prerequisites or various reasons the system may not meet compliance. I return to the office, collect all information and write some notes to make it easy to document or track later. Second breakfast is usually required at this point.
Review supplier documents such as as-builts, manufacturer’s data reports, operation and maintenance manuals. We need to decide if they meet all of ANSTOs requirements or send them back with comments for revision. Disseminate test information/results with the project team and discuss whether we can accept system components or whether rectification is required.
Enjoy lunch out on the deck, at the café or on the oval with the other graduates if the weather is good. Sometimes I take a nice walk around site – monitor lizards occasionally make guest appearances.
Continue with paperwork if a task requires urgent closing off. Otherwise this is a good time to get some design work in for components inside the facility. This can involve hand sketches, 3D modelling, optioneering, contacting suppliers and getting quotes as well as finding expertise within ANSTO to tackle a variety of design challenges.
Might meet with the rest of the project team to discuss task tracking and collaborate on the larger multi-disciplinary problems. Our team has backgrounds in Engineering, Construction Management and Contracts Administration.
Home time! Our team is flexible, so this varies from person to person and depends on deadlines and the project timeline.
I always look forward to my evening exercise routine which involves either a weekly badminton game, martial arts or picking up hobbies from the other graduates.
Whip up some quick lunch for the next day or two.
Unless I’m working through an online course, it’s time to wind down with some Netflix, a good fantasy book or stretching and get ready for bed.