Graduates tell it like it is

13th September 2011

A panel comprising of four relatively recent chemical engineering graduates were grilled by over 50 students from Victoria’s RMIT, Monash and Melbourne Universities about their careers and experiences in the workplace.

A career night,conducted by the Joint Victorian Chemical Engineering Committee (JVCEC), was designed to expose the students to a wide variety of career paths and provided an opportunity for them to glean ‘pearls of wisdom’ that will prove useful when embarking on their own journey into the workforce or postgraduate experience.

IChemE’s Australian Board member and Treasurer, Paul Taranto, reported that the guest speakers, Dr Kathryn Mumford,a research fellow at Melbourne University, Kate Frueh from Exxonmobil, Prathab Gopiraj and Pam Lambropoulos, both from Wood Group PSN, collectively had paid work experience ranging from two to ten years and all had taken positive choices in moving into work areas that were of interest to them.

“The students were inspired by the speakers’ passion for their work and encouraged by the local and overseas work opportunities available to chemical engineers,” Taranto said.

Taranto reported that the student enquiries ranged from being curious about how the panel felt when they first started paid employment, to how to go about getting vacation work and what the attitudes were towards females in the workplace - to name a few.”

The panel also highlighted how their work took place in a team based environment and pointed out that ‘soft skills’ of planning communication and being able to work with other engineering disciplines were equallyimportant and is often an attribute under appreciated by students during undergraduate studies.

Graduate salary

Graduate Careers Australia reports that chemical engineering graduates can expect to earn up to $61,000, which is $31,000 more than the average Australian graduate salary of $49,000.

‘Soft skill’ training for students

IChemE will be conducting acommunications seminar ‘Networking & building effective relations for young engineers’ in early October.

Topics to be covered will include: individual goal setting, planning and personal presentation, working a room, initiating conversations and securing effective follow ups with networking contacts.  The presenter will also highlight the bad habits that can wreck your chances of making contact with the people who can really make a difference.

Dates have been scheduled for:-

• 4 October –WA  (Curtin University)
• 5 October – SA (University of Adelaide)
• 6 October  - VIC (TBA)

For seminar enquiries, please contact Maryan Valverde