Jack Fleming growing his career as an Engineering Geologist
Jack Fleming joined Aurecon as an intern, he didn’t have any engineering experience. What he had, however, was his passion for the outdoors and making a difference, which has helped him grow his career as an Engineering Geologist.
Through Aurecon's internship programme, Jack has been exposed to the different career pathways he could take as a geologist. His experience has helped him gain a clearer picture of the role engineers and scientists play in improving society, and to see how his studies can be applied to real-world projects.
|University of Canterbury
|Professional Master of Engineering Geology
What inspired you to study geology?
I have always been a fan of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects growing up and wanted to combine my passion for the outdoors with a career that makes a difference.
Initially, I looked at studying ecology and environmental sciences, however I came across a few geology papers and really enjoyed learning about Earth’s history and processes, as well as the interesting field trip opportunities.
From there, I started looking into geology pathways and realised that there is a huge diversity of career options involving the mining, engineering, environment, energy, and academic sectors.
What was your intern experience like coming from a non-engineering background?
Unlike a lot of other interns, I came into my internship with zero experience in engineering. Every day, I was learning something new, and over the summer I started to gain a clearer picture of the role engineers and scientists play in improving our society.
Geology can be a very academic subject at times, so seeing how practical geologic knowledge is applied to real-world projects was a huge eye-opener.
Why did you choose to join Aurecon’s intern programme?
When looking for intern roles, it became clear that Aurecon is one of the leading New Zealand consultancies, having produced some of New Zealand’s most well-known projects. When I saw Aurecon had an office in Tauranga, I leapt at the chance of learning from some of the best in the business, so I contacted the Tauranga Ground Engineering lead to chat about their career and the internship programme.
Can you tell us about your role and the team you are part of?
The main goal of an engineering geologist is the protection of life and property against damage caused by various geological conditions, and this is done through the investigation and characterisation of the ground.
As an intern and a graduate, I am often on-site undertaking ground investigations, much of which requires skills I have gained in the workplace such as project management and contractor/client liaison. My time as a graduate has been a huge learning curve and I have slowly been able to work more independently on projects as I gain more experience.
What is the culture like at Aurecon?
Aurecon attracts a diverse workforce and from day one, I felt welcomed into the team. The internship programme events also allowed me to network with interns and graduates from other disciplines early on. Our flexible ways of working allowed me to make the most of my summer in Tauranga by having the freedom to get my hours done in ways which worked best for me.
What has been the highlight of the Aurecon intern programme?
Assisting with the embankment slope stability modelling for the SH22 Glenbrook Road safety improvements was a huge highlight for me. The existing intersection serviced ~10,000 vehicles per day; and being able to work on a project that directly improved road safety at such an early stage of my career was an awesome feeling which motivated me in my later studies.
Can you share the kind of projects you work on?
In my role, I have undertaken ground investigations and analysis for projects involving cell towers, roads, slope failures, wastewater treatment plants, bridges, residential developments, and multi-storied buildings. If it doesn’t float or fly, engineering geologist’s will likely play a role in its design and construction.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying for Aurecon’s intern programme?
Go for it! It’s a time in your career where you can make mistakes, ask questions, and take in learnings from a diverse range of leaders in their field. Be proactive in seeking out opportunities and say yes to those that come your way.