For Alexandra Radulovich, getting Chartered helped make clear how important engineering can be.
Alexandra Radulovich was not a geotechnical engineer when, nine years ago, she took a job with geotechnical engineering firm Douglas Partners. She wasn’t even a civil engineer.
“I had an engineering degree with a major in environmental systems, and then I also had a major in renewable energy technologies and a major in material and mechanical systems,” she said.
“It’s quite varied and nothing to do with what I actually do now.”
But Douglas Partners was willing to give her a shot anyway.
“My boss decided I’ve got the engineering background, so I’ve got the mindset of an engineer — he’ll just train me up in geotechnical engineering,” she said.
That involved on-the-job training, but the company was willing to help in more formal ways as well.
“After about three years I decided, ‘Yep, I want to be a geotechnical engineer. This is my career’,” she said.
“My boss encouraged me to do my master’s degree, which was supported by Douglas Partners … that was always part of the plan of training me up.”
Today, Radulovich is an Associate at Douglas Partners, as well as Geotechnical Section Manager at the company’s Canberra office, a posting that has allowed her to work all over New South Wales and Victoria.
“A lot of these smaller country towns don’t have local geotechnical engineers,” she said.
“One of the perks of working in Canberra is that we do service this greater area.”
And since her work is in demand for almost any form of construction, she sees a wide variety of projects.
“Roads, buildings, bridges, you need a geotechnical investigation,” she said.
“We dig test pits, and we physically assess the engineering properties of the soil and undertake testing. Or we drill boreholes and collect core up to 40 m deep.”
Radulovich is a Chartered engineer; she said that the accreditation helped net her a promotion — and reinforced how much good engineering matters.
“Because it is a pretty important job that we do as engineers,” she explained.
“In my postgraduate studies, we’d go through a lot of engineering failures — and people die. I’m talking about dams bursting — mine-tailing dams especially can have such catastrophic effects on the environment — and bridges, tunnels, buildings collapsing.”
She thinks Chartered engineers will become increasingly prevalent.
“More engineers are going to be expected to become Chartered,” she said.
“And clients are going to be looking for work to be undertaken by Chartered engineers.”
Top tips for success
- Be aware of the responsibility that engineers have to the communities in which they work — people’s lives and livelihoods can depend on it.
- Consider getting Chartered from early in your career.
- When you start looking into the Chartered qualification, it can seem quite overwhelming. Keep it simple and start with one competency at a time.