Working in Engineering

How to become an engineer;

People who work in engineering are ordinary people who like technical stuff. They like helping others and the community. They work hard. They have fun. They can earn a lot of money. Some people go to uni and get a degree in civil engineering, but many others find their way into engineering through TAFE.

If you are interested in a career in public works, town or city engineering, give it a go!

There are two ways of getting started:

  • By doing a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree at university
  • By completing a civil or environmental qualification at TAFE*

* Did you know that there are lots of ways into the profession through TAFE? After completing Year 10, you can do a Certificate 3. Then you can work your way up to a Certificate 4.

Those who want to progress can work for a Diploma in Civil Engineering or an Advanced Diploma. Also, if you complete the advanced diploma, many universities will give you advanced standing to start a Bachelor of Engineering degree course.


Will my Local Council or State Dept of Public Works help me to get into Local Government Engineering?

The answer is probably ‘yes’. Many assist school leavers to gain qualifications. They call it a cadetship or a traineeship. Some may offer scholarships to enable you to study at either university or TAFE. Most public works or council engineering departments are very happy to offer work experience to Year 10 students. When you leave school and are studying at either university or TAFE, paid work experience is normally available.

Why not ring and ask them about help with your study and the possibilities of part time work while you study.


What you need to do to get involved;

Ring your local council and ask to speak to an engineer. Ring a State Department and hunt out for an engineer. They will probably tell you that it’s a fun job, well paid and very interesting. They might even make you an offer of work experience or even better, offer you a cadetship.

Join us here at Young IPWEA NSW, you will find lots of useful information and tips on how to become an engineer, we can also give you guidance and point you in the right direction of becoming a great engineer!

What you might do as a public works engineers;

Just some of the things public works engineers work at include:

  • Building roads, drains, water & sewerage, buildings, cycleways and skateparks
  • Planning the creation of new residential estates
  • New bridges over railway lines or rivers
  • Improving traffic flow and safety
  • Roundabouts, islands and traffic lights at busy intersections
  • Planning new children’s playgrounds
  • Providing new sporting facilities, such as sports fields, gyms and pools
  • Rubbish collection from homes and parks to keep the place clean
  • Environmentally friendly recycling facilities
  • Saving our beaches for the future with sea/beach environmental programs
  • Managing rainwater runoff (what do you do with all the rain that falls on a shopping centre roof?)
  • Managing fleet of heavy plant like graders, loaders and trucks, and the light fleet of utilities, vans and cars
  • And let’s not forget about keeping all of the councils infrastructure in good condition for the community of the future!

When you are a Public Works Engineer, or part of the team, you:

  • Work with the community
  • Get satisfaction from achievement
  • Can choose a technical path or strive to become the CEO
  • Can work in the city or the country

Nicola Daaboul – Coordinator Asset Systems

Nicola started her career during a time of rapid growth and change with Eacham Shire Council before it became the Tablelands Regional Council in the 2008 Queensland Local Government Reform. At that time the Tablelands Regional Council (TRC) was made up of 4 amalgamated Councils, all of which had its own methodologies, practices, processes and systems for managing their infrastructure assets and delivering services to the community. Her role was to develop and implement the asset management framework that would enable the new council to meet the service needs and requirements of its community. This included a series of educational workshops delivered to key staff members and Councillors about the importance of asset management and sustainable practices.

Nicola then made the move interstate. In New South Wales her work at Cessnock City Council began by building and developing the asset management systems and process from the ground up. First she established an Asset Management Policy that committed Council to the asset management journey; second was the establishment of an asset register including both the physical and financial aspects and implementing an asset management system; and later was the development of an Asset Management Strategy and the completion of core Asset Management Plans.

More recently her work at Bankstown City Council has seen the development and implementation of an end-to-end Asset Management System. Her contributions to Bankstown have paved the way to delivering improved systems practices and process that result in a wealth of asset information used daily to inform decision making and create value though applying & sharing knowledge.

In addition to her achievements at Bankstown Nicola has recently published papers and presented at National & International engineering conferences about leading excellence and innovation in this field.

Nicola has Bachelor of Science, Post Graduate Diploma Infrastructure Engineering, and a Masters Infrastructure Engineering and Management. She has been nominated for the 2016 Ministers Award for Woman in Local Government and is the recent recipient of the David Abbott Award.

She’s enthusiastic & passionate about the application of sustainable asset management practices within local government that achieve informed decisions to better serve our environment and the community, now and in the future.


Anne-Maree Burke – Manager Water Strategy

Anne-Maree has a solid history of good strategic management and administration outcomes whilst working as an engineer over the last 13 years in Kempsey Shire Council’s water utility. In 2012 Anne-Maree was given Water Strategy, which included water accounts, regulatory control, capital construction projects, asset management and utility strategic planning, whilst others accepted a Treatment Process or Operations focus.

Anne-Maree was a fundamental driver for the introduction of the award winning Trainee Program within Kempsey Shire Council ‘Grow our Own’, which endeavours to address the sustainability of skilled utility workers. The programme boasts the first school based water industry trainees in Australia, Cert II, III and IV trainees and mentors technical officers and young engineers.

Anne-Maree has encouraged her team to then share their learning with others. Under her guidance, customer focus groups and networks with other utilities have been established. Assistance to others has been provided in user-pays water pricing introduction, liquid trade waste, dam algal management and water infrastructure refurbishment.

The recent establishment of a capital works project team has enhanced Anne-Maree’s delivery of innovative, community outcome based projects within the water utility and ability to strategically plan Kempsey Shire’s future water and sewerage needs. Recent projects have addressed many asset backlog items, established systems to gain continuous asset condition rating from operational staff and enabled unbroken capitalisations of new work. Strategic projects being driven by Anne-Maree include the South West Rocks recycled water scheme, the sustainable capacity of coastal aquifers and the integration of coastal water supplies.

Anne-Maree is one of many Council employees in regional areas that are constantly challenged with limited funds, ageing infrastructure, the comparably lower skill base of their staff and the need to import specialist skills. The difference is that instead of just accepting this as the norm and then limiting the delivery to the community, Anne-Maree has taken these challenges and cleverly worked with the available resources within the community to deliver better than what would normally be possible. Her coaching management style permits staff flexibility and results in innovative cost effective solution delivery. Her focus to improve on the infrastructure deliveries of the past has resulted in assets with improved current day operability and that can be maintained and augmented into the future. Along the way she has nullified the constraints thrown at her and delivered local employment, enhanced local skills, provided direct community and environmental benefits and provided assistance much broader than the Shire within which she works.