Bachelor of Engineering with Honours from the University of Canterbury
Fonterra Lichfield project: Site representation for civil works relating to large dairy plant upgrade
“Challenge current ideas”
Brock Goodison has been working at Aurecon for one year. After completing his Bachelor of Engineering with Honours at the University of Canterbury, he joined Aurecon’s Land Infrastructure team and plunged headfirst into an exciting project.
“I spent about 6 or 7 months on site at the Fonterra Lichfield project. The client is the largest manufacturer of dairy products in New Zealand. Their current upgrade project to their Lichfield site revolves around installing a new milk dryer tower and associated processing plant. Associated with this is a huge amount of civil infrastructure, such as roads, underground services, and ponds. This project threw me into a fast-paced construction environment which allowed me to learn a lot of different engineering aspects in a short timeframe.” says Brock.
Two of the things that were surprising to Brock were how quickly one could become immersed in the culture of a company and its clients as well as all the communication challenges involved in large scale projects.
“Being on site for such a long time meant that I could fully immerse myself in the project and really understand our client’s needs, which goes a long way in coming up with ways to bring a client’s ideas to life. I also came to appreciate how important communication is in our industry; not only communication internally with team members but also with the client, contractors, designers and everyone else involved in projects,” says Brock.
During his time at University, Brock was particularly interested in computer programming and hydraulics. He chose to become an engineer because he valued the problem solving tools that engineers were able to develop.
“I wanted to be a part of a team that created solutions that not only solved everyday problems for people but also improved the way companies do business,” says Brock.
With the benefit of hindsight, Brock says that engineering students should put a strong focus on making sure that they truly understand the coursework and are comfortable with the written communication involved in achieving engineering projects.
“Written communication is a big focus at the University of Canterbury, but I only came to realise how big a role this plays in my everyday work as an engineer when I joined the workforce in 2015. Making sure that you’re able to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively is an important part of being an engineer, and you have to be efficient and clear at communicating all the outputs of your work,” says Brock.
Brock says that a key to innovative thinking is challenging the traditional way of doing things.
“Something that I really value here at Aurecon is management’s willingness to listen to new ideas. Graduates have a lot to offer employers and if they’re bold enough to challenge conventional wisdom, then they can make a big contribution to innovative thinking and solutions,” says Brock.
Brock says that one thing that graduates may struggle with when entering the engineering industry is the fast pace of projects. With any project, there are competing deadlines and multiple timeframes that one needs to keep track of.
“There are often different timelines relating to design, relevant authority approvals and client deadlines. You quickly realise that many things can go wrong if you’re not able to wrap your head around the entire project scope and keep track of multiple timeframes. I struggled with the fast pace of projects in the beginning but the past 12 months has given me the experience I need to not feel overwhelmed and manage my various responsibilities,” says Brock.
“After a few months in the workforce, you start to establish a working system and you learn how to prioritise things better,” says Brock.
Working at a large engineering consultancy like Aurecon comes with its advantages, says Brock.
“Aurecon, for example, is an employer where you can grow as much as possible during your first few years as an engineer. We serve a number of markets which means there are many different types of projects and I’ve learned that there’s always something new and cool going on around here. Being able to learn a lot and get involved in state-of-the-art technologies and solutions is one of the advantages of being at a large consultancy,” says Brock.