Completing an engineering degree is rewarding but hard work, and making a successful transition into the workplace is arguably even more challenging. National President Trish White and CEO Peter McIntyre share how Engineers Australia is helping graduates take their next steps.
The hurdles to entering the engineers profession are real. They include landing that first job, bridging the gap from theory to practice, navigating the workplace, and building the networks and knowledge necessary for success.
As engineers’ professional home for life, Engineers Australia works to help engineers at all stages of their careers. We have recently added to our services for early career engineers in the areas they need most — finding work, building networks and increasing knowledge — and we continue to build on this.
Our new initiatives include an exclusive Facebook online community and an app called Frontier. This is an important resource connecting graduate and student members to networking opportunities, career information sessions, site tours, job openings and continuing professional development.
We also offer practical careers advice. This includes regular webinars – relevant, concise panel discussions on topics like mentoring and personal brand. These are posted on our general Facebook page, open to all members.
Engineers Australia provides a number of networking avenues to benefit graduates. Our face-to-face events include regular Elevation Careers Expos, where members can meet employers and our business partners. Engineers Australia also holds The Big Meet careers fairs with the Australian Association of Graduate Employers, where students can access up to 100 leading employers.
Our interest groups, colleges and technical societies offer a wealth of networking and learning opportunities – particularly the young engineers groups.
Mentoring is also a powerful source of help to graduate engineers, and Engineers Australia offers resources, including guides to help them connect with mentors and establish successful mentoring relationships, as well as links to the mentoring programs that Engineers Australia volunteers run.
While ‘who you know’ is important in engineering, ‘what you know’ is crucial.
Our training arm, Engineering Education Australia, offers the Professional Year in Engineering, a one-year post-graduation program.
We are working with employers to create a clear pathway to Chartered status via modular content and credentialing. Engineering Education Australia has a curated portfolio of training courses on selected topics that are relevant to graduates and target the needs of employers.
And, like all members, graduates have access to a wealth of technical library resources. Our experienced members also play a vital role in supporting the next generation of engineers.
Experienced members can help by volunteering as mentors, sharing expertise through colleges and technical groups, welcoming students and graduates to networks and spreading the word about the benefits of joining Engineers Australia.
This final point can’t be understated. Our next generation of engineers depends on it. They’re the ones who will directly shape the nation’s future, and that’s of vital importance to all of us.