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Dropping eggs from three storeys up – part of a STEM high school work experience

March 03, 2023

Three Brisbane students learn what it takes to be an engineer as part of a week-long Stantec work experience program

Recently, our South Brisbane office welcomed three high school students to complete a work experience placement—offering them the opportunity to learn what it’s like to work as an engineer and see how they could make a difference in their community.

Andrea Chan, Ashley Lo, and Maya Pianta were assigned to different teams across our water, buildings, and sustainability business groups. The students spent a week learning in the field and in the office, accompanying engineers on site visits, and shadowing the discipline leaders. At the end of the week, they were put to the test, applying everything they’d learned to real-world projects to gain a deeper understanding of how it all comes together.

From left to right – Ashley Lo, Year 11, Somerville House; Maya Pianta, Year 11, Brigidine College; and Andrea Chan, Year 11, Somerville House with their Stantec swag.

Putting their learnings into practice

We tasked the students with designing a simulated underground water pipe in Musgrave Park, an especially challenging project, as Musgrave Park is a heritage listed and culturally significant site, located in Brisbane’s CBD.

Constructing a dial-before-you-dig plan for the proposed project, the budding engineers started by identifying what council and private infrastructure have already established and assessed what they needed to be mindful of before drafting a CAD plan.

Once their CAD plan was drafted, the students took a hardcopy of it onsite to check whether all the physical elements matched up in the field—they explored the vegetation and environment, identified further services, conducted ecology assessments, and identified any potential planning issues. This firsthand experience showed them what a day in the life of our engineers could look like.

If designing a simulated project in a busy CBD location wasn’t challenging enough, each student received an assignment to design a protective casing for a raw egg that would protect it from a three-storey drop. The budding engineers used a range of materials such as newspaper, paper plates, sticky tape, toothpicks, and rubber bands to build their designs—and then dropped the encased eggs over the side of the Brisbane Convention Centre. Impressively, all three eggs survived the great fall without a crack. 

From left to right – Hard at work, Maya, Andrea, and Ashley apply what they learned.

Taking learnings into the future

Ashley found value in learning about the variety of possible career paths, with the field of engineering offering an array of opportunities. Placed in our Buildings team, Andrea learned about electrical engineering and saw first-hand what it’s like to work for a global organisation.

When asked what advice our students would give to future participants, both Maya and Ashley stressed that having an open mind is key to getting the most out of the experience, as it enabled them to learn and understand more than they anticipated.

“We’re privileged and proud to be in a position where we have the infrastructure to share what we do with our future generation,” says Rialet le Roux, graduate recruitment and engagement consultant. “We hosted three wonderful students with bright futures ahead of them—their fresh ideas and enthusiasm was visceral and I’m excited to see what they do next.”

The value behind these programs goes beyond simply giving students an understanding of our business. It also gives them the opportunity to reflect on what career path they want to follow and teaches them more about themselves.

Interested in participating in the program or want more information? Reach out to Karina Dervidis, Stantec Women in STEM lead and co-chair of Women in Stantec or Rialet Le Roux, graduate recruitment  and engagement consultant.

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