During last Semester break, I had the opportunity to participate in Transurban’s Female Excelling in Engineering and Technology (FEET) Program. Transurban is a large infrastructure organisation and it was a great experience that opened my eyes more fully to understanding engineering in practice.
The program is open to all female engineering and technology students, and during the 35 hours I worked in the company (over a four-week period), I learnt that being an engineer in industry is a multifaceted and diverse experience. It’s certainly not restricted to drowning in designs and calculations like it sometimes feels like in class.
Going into the program I had few expectations, not knowing what role a mechanical engineer plays in transport, but working closely with my mentor on several projects I learnt the machinations behind the company through meeting with stakeholders who maintain, advertise and support the assets.
One project I worked on involved analysing data on high salinity corrugated water and developing a comparison chart on the recommended and tested results. After that, I researched possible solutions to reduce the concentrations of sodium, bicarbonate and chloride ions and pitched these ideas to my mentor. This experience was particularly enriching – knowing that my research was going to make a real impact in the community.
Although much of my role entailed working in the office, I also had the opportunity to go onsite and observe the assets owned by Transurban and learn about the technology, teamwork and manpower behind keeping the roads and tunnels in tip-top condition.
The highlight of my experience was the culture within Transurban. My colleagues were extremely welcoming and friendly and through chatting with them, I got a real insight into their experience. It was evident that Transurban highly values their employees. In one impromptu conversation the engineering colleague I was talking to got so excited about their project they invited and took me on a site tour underground!
I also observed that the engineers and employees in Transurban are heavily customer focused, constantly aiming to improve safety, traffic and road conditions through crunching data and implementing the best technological solution to tackle these issues.
This whole program was a valuable learning experience for me and I highly encourage female engineering and technology students to apply.