Cosmin Scott is in his final year studying a Bachelor of Mining Engineering at the University of Wollongong. As he gears up to enter the mining industry as a graduate engineer, he reflects on what sparked his passion for problem solving.
Q1: What is the value of this engineering degree to you?
I think engineering differs from some other degrees in that it can have a much broader focus. It’s not just about how to solve a specific problem, but also how to consider multiple other factors. For example, with mining, if we didn’t have to think about the business, safety and environmental ramifications, the process for finding a solution would be significantly different. Thinking differently and incorporating all these different factors is what I find most enjoyable about the degree. The degree has really changed the way I approach problems; I have learned that there is not one perfect solution to a problem, and there is always compromise. More specifically to mining engineering, I’ve really enjoyed the scale of the projects I’ve worked on, which can often be into the billions of dollars. If you can find a way to make a task 1 per cent more efficient, the potential impact to the business, environment and community are huge.
Q2: What is your ideal job?
A mining engineering degree can take you many places, and I’m excited to experience the various things you can do with this degree. After completing some vacation work, I’m quite excited to do some drill and blast and some planning engineering. Maybe down the road I’ll get my mine manager ticket and run a mine. However, for the next few years as a graduate engineer, I’m mainly focused on getting on the tools as a miner.
Q3: Who are two engineers you most admire and why?
I’ve had some awesome and enthusiastic teachers during my studies, both engineers and people working in similar industries. My metalwork teacher through high school, Simon Lun, was the person who really got me thinking about venturing into the engineering field. He had quite a practical viewpoint, and I think that really shaped the way I now solve problems. A lecturer I always enjoyed listening to was David Walker, as he has experience with several different roles within the industry, and I always enjoyed his quite realistic take on problem solving. He got us to think about problems a lot more broadly and always ensured we took into account all the different points of view, which is something I’ll be bringing with me when I start my grad role.
Q4: If not engineering, what else would you have studied?
I think if I was to go into a different job it would probably be something to do with the health sector – I’ve always thought I’d be a good paramedic. Otherwise, it would be doing a job in an outdoor industry.
Q5: Favourite subject in your engineering course and why?
The UOW mining Capstone (MINE444/CMEA444) was my favourite subject. It’s a semester-long assignment where groups of students take basic geological data and design a mine from the ground up. It requires using a lot of your previous knowledge from subjects you have completed earlier in your degree. It’s a huge undertaking, but it’s very rewarding once it’s completed because it combines several years of study into one assignment.
Q6: What is the most important thing you will look for in an employer?
I always look for a job with established, long-serving staff, which is typically a sign that the company has a good culture, and hopefully some good banter to go along with it. And specifically for vacation and graduate roles, I want to ensure that the company I am working with has a good work plan for the duration that I’m with them. In my experience these vacation roles can teach you a totally different side to the job that you are studying for, and it is important to ensure that you make the most of the limited time you are working on them.