Helping early-career engineers achieve their Chartered status is rewarding for businesses and engineers alike.
When Brian Loughlin, regional director of ADG Engineers in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, began working in the firm’s Darwin office in 2016, he saw an opportunity to help attract young engineers to the city.
“We were looking for ways to expand our civil team in Darwin,” he said. “Relocating high-potential graduates from within our business to Darwin was a good way to grow our business.”
Harris Davidson, now a senior engineer at the firm, was one of those individuals identified and recruited from the Gold Coast as a graduate in 2017.
“When I got to Darwin, I began taking advantage of EA webinars — they gave me the confidence to attempt the Chartered process as soon as I could,” he said.
“The recommendation is five years experience before attempting to become Chartered, so as soon as I hit that mark, I went for it.”
Davidson said that there used to be a perception that the Chartership process was daunting.
“I’ve talked to a lot of other grads who were in my position, and many felt nervous about the process — 16 competencies, 15,000 words, and sitting in front of a panel to state your case,” he said.
“The new process is no less challenging, but is based on the work that you have done. The word count is less, and relies more on the work examples provided and industry reviewers confirmation on competence. Support from Engineers Australia through the process also helps.
“The steps for what we had to deliver were clear. And once we got started, it was a two month turnaround before we achieved Chartered status.”
Brian Loughlin said that as a manager, he prefers the evidence-based approach to Chartership.
“The new process involved our own internal review prior to going to the assessor,” he said.
“It gave us a real level of confidence in our people because it showed that they were really taking ownership of their career and in pursuing Chartership.
“When somebody takes advantage of resources available and takes ownership to fulfil their CPD requirements shows the calibre of the individual. An engineer actively managing their career gives you the confidence to keep progressing them as they start to supervise others.”
Loughlin added that from the firm’s perspective, the process helps highlight the broad range of experience that is available for grads in Darwin that they may not experience in the big cities.
“We feel that the diversity of project types and diversity of workloads give engineers the opportunity to take a step forward in their career a bit earlier,” he said.
“Taking on client management, managing junior support staff, managing technical commitments, stakeholder management, risk identification are all elements that are really important for their careers.
“The Chartered process gave us confidence that in Darwin in particular, the experience was available for them to move forward with their careers that little bit sooner.”
Harris Davidson said that, in addition to becoming Chartered, he has started to get more involved with EA networking events.
“They weren’t something I took full advantage of when I was in Queensland,” he said.
“But when I came to Darwin, I decided to go to the young engineers events such as Elevation. Building your network through these events is limitless.”
Since becoming Chartered, Davidson has also begun presenting at EA seminars.
“Passing knowledge onto the younger generation is very satisfying and rewarding,” he said.
To find out more about Chartered engineer status, head over to Engineers Australia.