It’s been a big two weeks for final-year students as they sit exams and come-to-face with the future. For Jordan Sens, there’s been no down time. He completed his last La Trobe exam last Wednesday and this week started working in his chosen career.
“I wanted to jump straight in,” he says, describing the end of uni as bittersweet. “I did enjoy my time here and I got to make a lot of friends, but at the same time I look forward to starting work.”
Jordan is now officially part of the team at Terraco, although he’s had a connection with the Bendigo engineering, development and project management company since high school.
Jordan started studying for his Bachelor of Civil Engineering straight after completing VCE at Bendigo Senior Secondary College, where he was chosen to be part of an engineering work experience program that enables one Year 11 and one Year 12 student to spend one day per month across the City of Greater Bendigo, VicRoads and Terraco.
“It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to get a taste of the industry,” Jordan says. “I enjoyed visual design work and I was naturally geared towards computers and numbers, so engineering seemed like a good cross of what I enjoyed and what I was good at.”
He said choosing to study in Bendigo had many benefits, including a $10,000 six-month placement in the final year of the course. “La Trobe would either allocate that or we could self-source, which is what I did because I knew I wanted to do something I was interested in.” So Jordan ended up back at Terraco for semester one and part of semester two this year.
“I completed my Work Integrated Learning Placement and Extension there and I realised I enjoyed the work,” he says. “When you start looking at engineering jobs there are many different disciplines and it’s hard to know which one you should go with. I just thought I’d take a leap of faith and when I did I found I really enjoyed it.”
Once he completed the required 800-hour placement, he kept working at Terraco as a casual, which paved the way for a full-time job.
Jordan says the work he did at La Trobe provided a clear pathway into the industry, directly and indirectly. “Being willing to learn, showing initiative, teamwork, these things I found very valuable and were applied every day,” he says. “But the numerical work we did in class that was directly applied was fantastic. I can remember when that happened, it was memorable because I knew I was applying directly what I’d learn as a student and it showed the study was all worth it.”
Jordan was calculating water detention requirements for a pipeline, part of Terraco’s undertakings for a housing subdivision. “The calculation for this we’d done quite regularly in hydraulics class,” he says.
At Terraco Jordan is working on projects from beginning to end with private clients and large property developers, dealing with all the authorities needed to develop land.
He says he’s excited to have secured a great job in his home city. “I love Bendigo and I was eager to stay. I would have been prepared to move but Bendigo was my preference for sure, and Terraco has a very community-orientated mindset so it was the perfect choice in that sense.”
He credits the Work Integrated Learning component of his degree for one almighty foot in the door. “Certainly the WIL placement in Bendigo was invaluable,” he says. “I’m pretty sure a large percentage of us from the course have got jobs from it. It works well for both the student and the employer. The students get a head start in making and maintaining connections in the industry and employers get a change to train someone up before they start. It’s a win/win.”
From 2019 Bendigo engineering students will study in a brand new, multi-million dollar purpose-built engineering building on campus.