Indigenous students gain valuable experience with work placements
Partnership between Woolyungah Indigenous Centre and Fulton Hogan boosts skills, employability
Two University of Wollongong (UOW) students have had the opportunity to increase their skills and gain valuable workplace experience, thanks to a partnership between Woolyungah Indigenous Centre (WIC) and Fulton Hogan.
Lachlan Sweeney and Stuart Smith both spent four weeks working with Fulton Hogan on the Nowra Bridge Project and the Albion Park Bypass, through the Fulton Hogan Vacation Program.
The program provided Lachlan and Stuart with meaningful work placements, improved employability, and tangible skills that can be translated to their chosen professions. It was a chance for the students to understand the complexity and intricacy of the engineering and construction process.
The partnership between WIC and Fulton Hogan began when Andrew Craig, Fulton Hogan’s Workforce Participating and Training Manager, approached the centre with the aim of helping Indigenous students to boost their skills and education.
“WIC is totally committed to providing a range of learning experiences and opportunities like these,” said Jaymee Beveridge, Director of WIC at UOW.
“You can’t be what you can’t see, and our students are our future industry leaders and they are building the aspirations of our younger mob!”
Engineering student Lachlan Sweeney, who took part in the internship with Fulton Hogan. Photo: Paul Jones
Lachlan, who is in the third year of a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours), said the experience gave him extra drive to complete his degree and start his career.
“This insight into what an engineer does day-to-day will be able to keep me motivated and determined while still completing my degree,” Lachlan said.
“It has been a highlight meeting people who have had very similar goals to me and who are achieving them through hard work.
“It has been great to be able to go on site and see how the site is going to change, and all the blood, sweat and tears that are still to come to complete the Nowra Bridge Project.”
Stuart (main picture), a Gundungarra man, is in his final year of a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Physical Geography and Environmental Geosciences.
He was thrilled to have the chance to take on work placement, particularly as COVID-19 has derailed many work-integrated learning opportunities for students.
“The Vacation Program has exposed me to all aspects of environmental work with a construction/engineering company, which has exponentially developed my work-based skills and allowed me to apply my theoretical learning into a real-world situation,” Stuart said.
“Some highlights include being part of rigorous water monitoring of Shoalhaven River over an extended period and observing the initial stages of Nowra Bridge.
“I am thankful to both Fulton Hogan and Woolyungah as without them I would not have experienced this amazing program.”