Upskilling our future engineers
One of the most valuable experiences any student can have is the chance to learn in a practical setting that mirrors the ins and outs of the industries they aspire to work in.
In collaboration with the Ai Group, DSI awarded 14 undergraduate internship grants to support industry partners in taking on interns and promoting hands-on learning from industry professionals.
“At uni, we often hear a saying to the effect of, ‘in the real world, there are no answers at the back of the book,’” says Joe Zadnik. “The biggest difference between the internship and coursework was not having the answer to every problem.”
Joe was a recent recipient of the internship scholarship and is currently in his final semester of a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science at Monash University. His specialisation in aerospace engineering made him the perfect candidate for an internship with Advanced Composite Structures Australia (ACS-A).
ACS-A is a multidisciplinary engineering firm whose work spans the renewables, aerospace and defence technologies, with a focus on research and development, validation and manufacture of composites.
Joe recalls appreciating the varied responsibility of the internship program. “Any day could be different and it usually was,” he says.
Joe was able to work in multiple parts of the firm, applying and growing his knowledge in manufacturing, computer-aided design, materials procurement, finite element modelling, and preparing specimens for physical testing.
Alongside the upskilling he was able to do in technical engineering, Joe says the most valuable aspect of the internship was the opportunity to learn industry practices.
“Things that are best learnt on the job are billing hours, purchasing goods, document and software control, interacting with customers, and many other professional and soft skills,” Joe explains. “The internship was a unique chance to understand exactly how an engineering organisation functions.”
Programs like this allow for a useful perspective and highlight the relevance of the academic content that students learn. By bringing them into the fold earlier, the industry as a whole benefits.