What's your job about?
I work as an undergraduate mining engineer at Thiess, the world's leading mining services provider. I currently work in the mine planning department in Thiess’ head office in Brisbane. My current project includes organising existing mining equipment data into a user-friendly interface spanning across many of Thiess’ global projects. When I’m not working on my specific project, I assist other mine planning engineers design future projects. I’m continually learning and enhancing my skill set.
What's your background?
I grew up in the suburbs of Brisbane and have been lucky to live here my whole life. I completed primary and secondary school before undertaking my mining engineering degree at the University of Queensland (UQ). I went into university knowing I wanted to study engineering but had no idea what major to choose. After completing a first-year mining elective, I knew that this was the course for me. I learnt a lot about mining and became interested in joining the industry. In the second year of my degree, I accepted an internship at Thiess’ Caval Ridge operations. Seeing all the things I learnt at university in the real world was an eye-opening experience. Knowing that the designs I was creating were being applied and making a difference to the project was a bizarre but honourable feeling. After I completed my placement, Thiess offered me an undergraduate position at their head office, which I graciously accepted. I’ve been improving my skills and learning new ones ever since, while still undertaking my engineering degree at UQ.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes, I believe that someone with a different background would be able to undertake my job if they had the appropriate work ethic and a passion and interest in the industry. A lot of the items I am completing in the office are tasks I’ve never done before, so an eagerness to learn must be present in order to succeed. It’s important to be able to establish relationships with your co-workers, as they can help you and answer any questions you may have.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
My job requires a large amount of learning, meaning I am continually testing new ideas. The feeling of concocting an idea in your head, then seeing it work and applied to the company is one of the best feelings in the world, knowing that what you have done has made a difference. Sometimes I’ll fail, but by refining my work, I’m able to succeed in ideas that I thought were otherwise impossible. Better yet, after learning skills in the office, I’m able to apply them to my studies.
What are the limitations of your job?
Learning subjects and courses at university is one thing, but sometimes when in the office or on-site, I’m faced with challenges that can’t be learnt in a lecture, exposing you to new or unknown aspects. When on-site, hours can be long, so great care must be taken to maintain a work-life balance. When on-site, you are going to be away from home, meaning that you won’t see your own bed, participate in regular hobbies or see your friends and family for short periods.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...