Andr? Henare and Wagners: Linking university with industry

André is part-way through his degree and has experienced uncertainty about whether engineering is the correct path for him. Institute of Quarrying Australia CEO Paul Sutton was made aware of this during a conversation with André in late 2016 while he was ordering a coffee. Paul was quick to arrange a meeting with John Stark at the Wagner Group (Wagners) to inquire about any potential unpaid work experience that Wagners could offer.

John Stark has been with Wagners for 23 years and is currently its Australian projects general manager. With John’s knowledge of the industry and his connections within the business, he secured in the early stages of 2017 an interview for André for work experience with Wagners. André presented himself extremely well in the interview where he showed willingness to learn and to grow. The offer for paid casual employment within the Wagners civil construction team was very quick to follow in place of the original request for unpaid work experience!

Wagners has recently employed seven civil, mechanical and structural graduate engineers. In André’s case, his casual employment with Wagners allows him to have flexibility to meet his other commitments, including his studies and the occasional shift at the café. While the position is casual and very flexible, it still provides André with exposure and hands-on experience in all aspects of civil development, including planning and design.

Upon commencement, every new Wagners employee is given a “buddy” (or mentor) to ensure they settle into the role that has been assigned to them. André’s buddy is the Wagners civil construction team manager Gearoid Connolly, himself a civil engineer and experienced civil project manager. Gearoid will not only ensure André settles easily into the role but will also be able to share his significant experience in this area.

André’s position involves site-based administration and engineering, which allows him to gain hands-on experience in the field and learn the inner workings of a site. This role also gives him the opportunity to be exposed to a fully operational quarry that supplies all materials used in the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport/Business Park Development.

The business park is only 20 per cent developed at the time of publication but the future is set and development is underway. André is now front and centre for one of the greatest examples of major professional business development, covering a huge array of engineering experiences and processes, thus giving him practical knowledge to base his future career decisions on.

Should André find his purpose and enjoyment in this role, a full-time position with Wagners is on offer at the conclusion of his studies, taking the pressure off André about finding employment post-university. The Wagner Group understands the importance of providing an extremely supportive environment that ensures continuous professional development and career progression – a position perfect for an engineering graduate that ensures his/her enjoyment and passion never subside.

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