What's your job about?
I’m part of an engineering design team working on armoured military vehicles. I’ve worked on designs in various stages, from researching and developing concepts prior to commencing design work, through to preparing designs for manufacture. In my current project, I am designing a mock-up of a vehicle and turret interior to allow for testing and fit of vehicle subsystems. In a typical day working on this project I spend a lot of my time using a 3D CAD program, referencing existing vehicle design and producing my designs.
Throughout the design process, I have to make sure I’m documenting what I’ve done and why, in case we need to come back to it later. I have to work with various stakeholders in the project, including electronics engineers, senior mechanical engineers within the design team, as well as the manufacturer. I may also spend time in meetings with our engineering team, reviewing designs and updating each other on the progress of projects within the team.
What's your background?
I grew up in Cairns, in far north Queensland. When I finished high school, I moved to Brisbane to study engineering at QUT, and loved it. I studied a double major in mechanical and medical engineering, and did my placement and thesis in the area of rehabilitation engineering, working with custom assistive technology.
My favourite subjects at uni were definitely the design subjects, so I was really excited to get the opportunity to work as a design engineer. I started this position a few months after graduating uni, and I’ve now been working at Rheinmetall for close to a year.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
An engineering degree is required for my job, but someone with a different background otherwise could do it. Within my team, many of us have backgrounds outside of defence or vehicle systems – or are recent graduates like myself. I think the most important characteristics for this role are curiosity, and being able to take criticism about their work (an important part of making our designs better!).
What's the coolest thing about your job?
My favourite part of my job is that we work on all aspects of the vehicles, so there’s always something new to learn about or work on. The tasks I enjoy the most are the design tasks that challenge my existing skills and knowledge, where I have to learn as I go.
Another part of my job I really enjoy is the travel opportunities - last year, I got to spend two months working in Germany. I got to work with engineers based there, as well as see the manufacturing facilities and various products that Rheinmetall have.
What are the limitations of your job?
In this role, I have more design responsibility than I expected to as a new graduate. I am responsible for designing a number of systems and subsystems, as well as working with suppliers to get them manufactured. Thankfully, I can always ask more senior engineers within the team for advice and guidance, but it was definitely intimidating to start with!
Also, at busy times, we do have to do extra hours to make sure things get done on time – although this isn’t all the time.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
Three pieces of advice I would give to myself as a uni student: