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University of New South Wales
Daniel studied Bachelor of Commerce at University of New South Wales
What's your job about?
Downer operates primarily in Australia and New Zealand, delivering engineering and infrastructure management services to both the public and private sector. I am currently working in operations specifically at the Newport facility in Victoria. The role involves delivering trains to our key customers including Metro Trains Melbourne, V/Line and Bombardier. My daily tasks involve assisting the production manager including safety, quality and environmental management, labour management, planning and forecast activities, assisting with tenders for new business opportunities, creating and updating reports and implementing tools to assist the shop floor such as visual management boards. Previously I have also worked in the commercial team with responsibilities such as reporting, managing the CRM system and preparing proposals for business tenders. This also includes a rotation in innovation which involved a lot of research and development and continuous improvement in all areas of the business.
What's your background?
I was born and raised in Sydney and attended Sydney Boys High before graduating from the University of New South Wales. During my time at university, I was fortunate enough to travel overseas as well to Bangkok as part of a practicum. This involved an internship for 3-4 weeks which was definitely a highlight in my studies. Prior to graduating, I was working at Downer as an intern before transitioning to a graduate as part of their development program.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes. The role does not require extensive or technical knowledge of the industry and so any individual can be successful. However they need to have an eagerness to learn and strong willed to perservere through any issues that may arise. Working in operations also involves a large number of stakeholders so soft skills such as communicating and influencing others are highly valuable.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The Graduate Development Program is highly flexible and centered around each individual graduate. The program allows graduates to choose their own rotations and under the guidance of their rotation managers, also determine their own learning outcomes. This allowed me to gain exposure in different parts of the business even if it had little to do with my degree.
What are the limitations of your job?
The biggest priority in operations is to make sure the product is delivered to the customer in-full and on-time. This often means being contactable by staff after hours and on weekends which can be stressful for some people. There are also a lot of unplanned activities so being organised is a must.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
- The type of degree or qualification does not matter as much in the workplace. However there will be continual learning post-university so keeping an open mind is important.
- Soft skills including building relationships with others is undervalued and cannot be taught at university. Having trust with coworkers, clients and other stakeholders is highly important.
- Get more involved with extra-curricular activities. It is always important to separate work and play and often difficult when work gets stressful. Make sure you explore different communities and pick up new hobbies which will remain post-university.