As a leading provider of engineering consulting services throughout Australia for more than 25 years, Advitech takes the development of future engineers very seriously. Our people work very closely with clients to solve problems, reduce risk, improve efficiencies, achieve compliance and get the job done. In fact our professional yet personalised and pragmatic approach is a key reason why people choose to engage our services. Therefore, when it comes to the selection and development of new engineering staff, we take both processes very seriously. While academic achievement is important, it is not the only quality we look for when choosing people to join us, as this article will explain.
As a relatively small company, a high level of independence, attention to detail and initiative is expected from all team members, including new recruits and graduates. We spoke to the newest and youngest member of Advitech’s Process Engineering team, Patrick McGaw to learn about his career journey to date and his advice for engineering students considering their future career options. We also spoke with Patrick’s manager and the Lead Consultant of the Process Engineering and Sustainability Team, Dr. Carl Fung, to learn his insights into what Advitech looks for in a potential new engineer and the initiatives Advitech is taking to build a solid resource base and develop best practice engineers of the future.
Patrick McGaw - Process Engineer
Patrick first approached Advitech while in his final year of a Bachelor of Engineering degree (majoring in Chemical Engineering) at the University of Newcastle. Industrial experience is an obligatory component of the undergraduate degree so after completing the formal study component of his degree, he approached a number of engineering firms by email to request the opportunity to gain work experience. Advitech was one of the only companies that responded to his email and following a successful interview with the Managing Director, Patrick was awarded a 12-week undergraduate position with the company in June 2015. During this time, he gained experience in a number of divisions within the group before settling into the Process Engineering department, which is where his knowledge and skills were best utilised.
Shortly after finishing the 12-week industrial experience period, Patrick was invited back to Advitech to assist on a number of large projects in both a paid and voluntary capacity. Advitech management was so impressed with Patrick’s performance in these casual roles that when the full time position of Process Engineer became available in March this year, he was offered the role, which he accepted without hesitation.
When asked what advice he would give engineering students wanting to gain work experience or a job in the field, Patrick said they shouldn’t wait for companies to advertise. “I would suggest they are proactive by targeting companies and contacting them by email,” he said. He suggested that once onsite, they should show initiative and enthusiasm by asking questions, observing and not waiting to be told what to do. In terms of challenges, Patrick said the greatest challenge was the level of detail required when documenting findings, outcomes and specifications; far greater in fact than the level of detail expected at university.
Patrick is excited about his future with Advitech as there is plenty of variety and scope for long-term career development. He has a keen interest in risk services, including hazardous area classification and dangerous goods auditing, and has expressed interest in learning more about this specialised division of Process Engineering in the future.
Dr Carl Fung - Lead Consultant, Process Engineering & Sustainability
After 12 years with Advitech, Dr Fung has a deep understanding of the guiding principles and values that underpin the company’s decisions and actions, including the determining factors when it comes to the appointment of new staff, including recent graduates.
“In addition to sound academic performance, new recruits must possess excellent communication skills, a keen eye for detail and must display initiative and enthusiasm,” said Dr. Fung. “Being a small team, it is also important that a potential new staff member fits in to the culture of our organisation and is able to work independently as well as be a team player,” he added.
Dr Fung said Patrick quickly demonstrated that he ticked both the required and desirable boxes, which is why he was asked to return not long after his 12-week undergraduate industrial experience with his team to assist them on a number of projects, and also why the company offered him a full time job earlier this year when the position of Process Engineer became available.
Advitech encourages a transparent workplace culture in which all staff, including those new to the team, know they play a vital role in the overall success of the company. The company also promotes continual professional development and prides itself on offering a workplace that is both challenging and rewarding. At least once a year, team leaders like Dr. Fung conduct a one-on-one review with individual team members to discuss personal goals, development opportunities and review performance.