Felicity Johnston

Felicity Johnston

University of Western Australia
Engineer Process, Clarification Improvement
Felicity studied Bachelor of Engineering, Chemical/Process at University of Western Australia

I grew up on a farm in a small community called Borden in the south-west of WA. Parts of my childhood were the perfect country cliché: for our family pets we had Lassie the dog, Skippy the kangaroo and Rambo the sheep, and I spent a lot of time running around in paddocks. I completed my high-schooling at a boarding school in Perth before moving on to study Chemical and Process Engineering at UWA.

I was in Year 10 when I decided I wanted to study Chemical Engineering. I was attracted to the idea of problem solving for a job and I loved Chemistry. It wasn’t until I first started working that I realised that Chemical Engineering is extremely varied and involves so much more exciting than just problem solving and there was much less Chemistry than I expected!

The Graduate Program has given me the opportunity to meet with many of the senior leaders in our business who shared their career journeys and advice for developing professionals. I have also enjoyed being able to have the opportunity to meet and work with other members of my graduate cohort from other sites during a project which focussed on improving our capability and efficiency of operation across the Australia region using drones. 

During my time as a graduate I have been given complete accountability and responsibility in every role I have had. This has been a little daunting at times however it was invaluable experience for both my technical and non-technical development.

In a technical sense, South32 Worsley Alumina is a very interesting and exciting place to work – there’s always something happening. Working at South32 I feel as though my individual contribution is recognised and valued. I am supported in my day-to-day role by my team and managers and encouraged to challenge the ‘status-quo’ which is exciting as a developing engineer.

I am currently coordinating a trial which has the ability to significantly increase production at our refinery. It is one of the biggest challenges I have faced to date but is also the biggest highlight as it gives me the opportunity to make a tangible contribution to our bottom line.

In my career I would like to be challenged and engaged. I’m open to any roles in the business which allow this, as I believe job titles can sometimes be misleading!