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After starting along several pathways as she looked for a fulfilling career, Brady Spooner found civil engineering - and she says the qualifications she gained have helped open many doors.
Finding out about civil engineering
Brady says she "kind of fell into engineering by accident." After starting studies in architecture and construction at one tertiary institution and then changing to planning at another, she felt she hadn't found a pathway she felt passionate about so left. Brady joined Hamilton City Council's Water and Waste Unit. "I really enjoyed the technical side of the position - some of the engineers began to mentor me and I started taking on more challenging tasks."
When a survey assistant role came up, along with the opportunity to study part-time towards the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (NZDE), Brady took it up. "I found my passion and never looked back."
Bachelor of Engineering Technology
After graduating, Brady worked as an assistant engineer at Waikato District Council where her managers supported her part time study towards the Bachelor of Engineering Technology (BEngTech). "I saw this as a great opportunity if I wanted to travel as it's globally recognised, and it would set me up if I ever wanted to move on to further study and specialise in an area."
Having gained her NZDE at Wintec, Brady found it was easy to staircase into a BEngTech. Although, she notes, it wasn't always easy during the seven years she was studying towards the two qualifications. "It was very hard at times to motivate myself. My advice to anybody else doing this is to just keep going; don't give up if you struggle with a paper but ask for help, the tutors are there to help you pass."
Brady says the most challenging aspect of her tertiary study was coping with dyslexia. "I struggled throughout most of my schooling until I received help to excel and gained the confidence to find a career." As she hadn't achieved the requisite maths, Brady had to complete a maths course before starting her NZDE study. "Which I found very challenging, as it had been seven years since I last studied any maths."
"Once I started the papers I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the real life scenarios and applying the theory to the practical work in the field. It was an extremely proud and satisfying moment when I received 'As on papers that I was so nervous about starting."
Opening up opportunities
Brady says her qualifications have opened many doors. She's currently working for Conway Aecom in the UK as a road space coordinator - planning and scheduling works to be completed on the London arterial network. "I'm gaining a lot of knowledge of the roading network, and experience in the legislation, procedures and construction methods."
Brady's plans for the future might include more study, if she decides to specialise in an engineering area. "At the moment I'm loving my travels and seeing so many different ways of engineering; eventually I'll bring all this knowledge home and apply it to my work here."
Note: This case study was originally published on www.engineeringe2e.org.nz.