Employment opportunities for West Australian engineers are being given a significant leg up by industry.

In 2016, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) partnered with Horizon Power and Engineers Australia to launch the Engineering Graduate Program in response to a shortfall in graduate roles.

Synergy, Western Power and Alinta have since joined the partnership to further boost graduate opportunities.

CCI Chief Executive Officer Chris Rodwell said CCI is committed to working with our Members to support the development of priority skills across industry.

“Three years ago, over a quarter (26.5%) of new engineering graduates were available for full-time work but were unsuccessful in finding it, which could have led to a long-term crisis if action wasn’t taken,” Mr Rodwell said.

“The Engineering Graduate Program is an example of industry at its best – collaborating to ensure our future engineers have the practical experience they need to build a skilled and sustainable workforce.

““WA has the most stable energy grid in the nation and now we have outstanding coordination in training up our next generation of energy leaders.”

The program has already allowed 10 West Australian graduates to gain full-time employment, and has now expanded to student internship placements after concerns were raised by universities and Engineers Australia that students were not able to obtain the industry work experience they need to graduate.

This week, six engineering students will complete their summer vacation work, allowing them to obtain the 12-week work experience they require to graduate.

Horizon Power General Manager Power System Services Laurie Curro said Horizon Power is proud to support the Engineering Training Program.

“We are delighted to be partnering with CCI and Engineers Australia to provide students with an opportunity to gain first-hand practical experience working in the profession,” Mr Curro said.

“During their rotation at Horizon Power, students were able to gain applied industry skills working on a range of projects including the Carnarvon Energy Storage Trial project, fault location tools, and overloading and thermal aging in transformers and cables.

“The program adds value to the profession as a whole by supporting local graduate development to drive innovation, and engineering as a profession to grow with WA industry.”

All graduates are also enrolled on a pathway to obtain their engineering professional credential Chartered Status through Engineers Australia, which will play an integral role in their future career development.

Engineers Australia General Manager WA Susan Kreemer Pickford said the Program is a great example of creating a pipeline of talent for future energy projects.  

“Being part of this collaboration, Engineers Australia has the opportunity to strongly engage with the engineers from the outset. Our ongoing relationship will be a pivotal part of their growth,” Mrs Kreemer Pickford said.

“The program has been well received and exceeded all expectations in its first year. Australia-wide we now have 25 companies that have graduates on the Program, delivered in Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.”