Job title

Civil and Environmental Engineer

Who do you work for?

Rio Tinto Alcan Weipa

What does your job involve?

In my current position, I manage small site projects, which can range from road rehabilitation and resealing to designing weed wash down stations for the mine. These projects usually include requesting capital funding, drafting drawings, writing scope of works for project tenders, contractor management, and project close out.

I also manage the site water model, which is used to predict how much water will be required on site to meet the production targets and whether a deficit is likely. Monthly water usage targets from this model are included in the general manager’s operations report.

Why did you choose to work in this sector?

I completed high school in Weipa and was awarded a Rio Tinto scholarship to support my university studies in Brisbane. The scholarship included paid vacation work at Rio Tinto Alcan Weipa during university holidays. I completed three blocks of vacation work (three month blocks) between first and fourth year studies, and during fourth year, I was offered the opportunity to work in the Rio Tinto Alcan Brisbane office on a casual basis for a year. When I completed my university studies, I was offered a graduate position in Weipa.

What is the most rewarding part of your current job?

The most rewarding part of my current job would be seeing a project that I have either worked on or managed completed and functioning properly.

What has been one of your recent achievements?

I was recently nominated for a Rio Tinto Bravo! award for my work on Rio Tinto Alcan Weipa closure criteria. Also, I was recently signed off from my graduate position into a professional role.

What is the most challenging part of your current job?

The responsibility and accountability involved with contractor management, especially when focusing on safety. At the start of my current role, I found it difficult to manage or question contractor decisions especially in an industry where most are male and older than me.

What do you hope to do in the future?

I am currently studying a Masters in Business Administration so I hope to finish that within the next few years. I am interested in staying with Rio Tinto, however I might look at moving into a different product area or moving into a managerial role.

What are some of the other benefits of your job?

Rio Tinto reimburses me for my current MBA studies after I pass a subject as well as the annual renewal cost of professional engineering memberships groups. A couple of times a year I also get the chance to attend workshops in Brisbane.

What training did you have for this job?

Upper secondary school:

Subjects I completed in grade 11 and 12 were Maths B, Maths C, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English

After secondary school:

Four year full-time Bachelor degree of civil and environmental engineering at Queensland University of Technology

Three x three month vacation work blocks at Rio Tinto Alcan Weipa

12 months casual work at Rio Tinto Alcan Brisbane.

What career advice would you give to school students interested in a similar career?

The maths and science subjects I completed in grade 11 and 12 provided me with the background information required to complete my university degree. Others that did not complete the same subjects at high school, mainly Maths C and Physics, struggled during their first year of study.

To find out more about how Rio Tinto supports classroom teaching and learning in maths, science and business studies for young people aged 12-16 visit SMART, our free international education portal. Using a combination of interactive whiteboard presentations, printable lesson plans, worksheets and case studies, students can explore how their academic studies relate to real-world operations in a major global business.