Junior Engineer in Victoria.
Niels is a Graduate Mechanical Engineer, employed through Downers Graduate Program and working in Testing and Commissioning Operations at the Pakenham East (train) Depot in Melbourne.
He commenced in the Program in 2019, starting in the Mechanical Systems team which he says was the perfect introduction to trains. Speaking about his experience, Niels said: “I was able to use what I had learnt in University and apply it to different systems. From there, I moved into testing and commissioning operations on site in Pakenham East. Here I have had the opportunity to cover a lot of different areas in project planning, stakeholder engagement, safety and type testing.
“Currently I am leading the Human Factors testing operational requirements which has been a great opportunity to work with the end user, specialists and understand how design choices made early affect the functionality over the life of a product,” he said.
Niels said that one of the great benefits of the Downer Graduate Program is that he is part of a dedicated mentor program.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have two mentors in my time at Downer. It’s been really positive to have General Managers who are happy to take time out of their schedule to give advice and provide guidance,” he said.
His advice for other graduates is to “throw yourself into every opportunity you can. There are a lot of opportunities available, but you need to make them happen for yourself. There are a lot of experts to learn from, both from a professional and personal development perspective,” he said.
And one thing that years of study could not have prepared him for, was the left field challenges of operating in an outdoor environment. "A local flock of corellas (white cockatoos) regularly descends onto the site and causes havoc. They treat the depot like a playground. We even hired a falconer to try scare them away with a wedge tailed eagle!" exclaimed Niels.