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Bradley Tunstall

What's your job about?

In my first 12 months I have completed three roles within CIMIC Group.

My first role was a fly-in-fly-out role with CPB Contractors on the QCLNG gas project in Queensland. I was tasked with identifying and rectifying works to bring vendor dehydration and compression packages to commissioning preparedness. 

My second role was with EIC Activities, I provided input on construction projects and tenders.

I currently work for Sedgman in the operations stream, working in a team providing maintenance and reliability support to several mine sites.

What's your background?

I am a born and bred Queenslander, growing up on the Sunshine Coast. I attended local public primary and high schools where I worked hard on both academic and extra-curricular pursuits, getting involved in leadership, community volunteering, instrumental music and sporting groups. I dabbled in business and law through a school-based traineeship before deciding to follow my interest in physics and how the mechanical world works, by applying for engineering at university in Brisbane.

I spent five years at The University of Queensland, studying a dual Bachelor’s degree in Engineering (Mechanical) and Commerce (Accounting) where I learned to apply both technical and business perspectives to my work. I developed further leadership and public speaking skills through casual employment and volunteering with the university.

The best decision I made at university was to study on exchange in Canada for a semester. Walking to class in shin-deep snow and skiing on weekends became my new norm, and the close-knit university community coupled with ultra-friendly Canadian personalities created a truly memorable experience. The engineering courses I took were first-class and broadened my view and appreciation of the profession in a global context.

My current job came about through sheer persistence and determination after copping literally hundreds of rejections over about 18 months of applications and interviews. Whilst trying to break into the engineering industry, I kept myself busy with volunteer work, backpacked through Europe and briefly in South Africa and Japan, and worked as a kids’ summer camp counsellor in the USA.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes, absolutely! I believe that in today’s society, there is nothing that stands in the way of an individual pursuing a career in engineering, regardless of background, culture or gender. What you need is an inquisitive mind that feeds on solving complex problems and a desire for continual learning. An affinity for mathematics and science has long been considered the indicator of a budding engineer, but today the world also needs creative minds who can continually challenge and redefine the norm to find new and innovative ways forward. The ride isn’t easy, but it’s certainly an exciting place to be!    

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The thing I love most about my job is getting my hands dirty! My most exciting days are those out on-site, absorbing everything going on around me and performing my role as a small cog in a giant machine. Real learning is done through exposure to daily activities and challenges in the field, as you feed off the years of practical experience imparted by tradespeople, machine operators, supervisors, engineers, technical specialists and managers. Studying technical design drawings, then seeing the real thing gets me through the dull moments and reaffirms that I chose the right career path.

What are the limitations of your job?

I learnt through roles at university the importance of telling both sides of the story.

Studying engineering is hard. You can expect long hours in class and late nights studying, frustrating times trying to understand theories and concepts, painful group projects and seemingly impossible exams.

Obtaining paid employment involves persistence and strong character. And when you get a job, not every day is going to be as you dreamed. There will be lots of reading, long hours, and challenges.  

So why become an engineer? Accomplishment, challenges and generation of positive solutions!

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Get involved with extra activities at university. These can be career-related and non-career related. Career related activities are your ‘in’ to your chosen profession and non-career related endeavours are your stress outlets. Don't forget study abroad as an option!
  • Unashamedly ask questions of your lecturers and tutors. Questions show interest and initiative, and are a better way to learn than just passively listening.
  • Treat everyone with fairness and respect, and always behave honestly and ethically. It’s a good life motto and builds strong relationships which become a valuable asset.