Bridging the gap
By Cathal O’Connell
La Trobe University’s new Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) degree provides a pathway between uni and your career.
Teodora Raducan faced a problem as high school was ending: what to become – a doctor, lawyer, designer? “It was incredibly hard for me to choose,” she says. She realised she wanted a creative career with the freedom to “think outside the box” and, for her, engineering stood out.
“Being an engineer enables you to create something that can improve the quality of people’s lives,” she says.
Teodora is looking forward to working atthe forefront of technology, using things like 3D printers, advanced sensors and mechatronics. “I’ll never get bored because there’s always something new.”
Teodora is in her second year of the new Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) degree at La Trobe University. It’s a multidisciplinary degree, meaning she’s being trained across a broad range of engineering fields rather than specialising from the outset. The aim is to prepare students for modern industry needs, says Eddie Custovic, a senior lecturer.
“Recruiters and organisations are looking for engineers with a mix of skills, who understand business processes and how disciplines work together,” he says.
“This degree is the first of its kind in Australia. “It bridges the gap between graduating university and entering the workforce.”
The showpiece of the degree is the opportunity for a six-month, $10,000 industry placement scholarship in the final year.
Teodora is especially impressed that the university tries to place you in the industry of your choice. “The beauty of that is you’ll know before you graduate if the path you chose is right for you,” she says.
Some of the major engineering firms in Australia have already signed up to receive placements, including Telstra, Boeing, Bombardier and NBN Co.
Teodora has already gained some research experience through a summer project with a La Trobe team, designing a new camera that automatically follows players around a sports field to gather data about their performance.
While engineering is sometimes seen as a male-dominated industry, Teodora says she hasn’t felt like an outsider and there are plenty of other girls in her class. “Everybody’s equal and respects each other.”
Rebecca Thorburn, who’s also enrolled in the course, agrees. “No one thinks differently of you because you’re a girl. You’re considered part of the team as an engineer!” she says.
“I’m incredibly lucky to be a student here at La Trobe,” says Teodora.
TO GET THERE: latrobe.edu.au/courses/engineering
Author: STEM Contributor
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