7.30 AM – Work morning routine
Log onto my computer and check emails and prepare a list of action items for the morning. As a graduate design engineer, your tasks may vary depending on the design stage of the project.
Design engineers focus on the technical engineering concepts related to a construction project and support the process by designing sub-systems of the “thing” you are building.
For example, in my field of interest, such considerations are:
8.30 AM – Client’s design comments integration
Depending on the stage of the project you might be aiming to answer one or two of these questions. Each question calls for different tasks to be completed, such as a technical engineering calculation, a detailed drawing, a design specification report, quotations from suppliers, client meetings, team meetings, and/or visiting the site.
Well, let’s jump back to my day because that’s why you’re here. Let’s say the project I am on is roughly 30% through the design stage and the client has just provided feedback on our design.
My morning would involve going through every comment the client has provided and determining the required action items. Typical action items include updating design drawings to address their comments, providing further clarification on certain design choices, updating the design to suit the client’s preference, and if necessary, organising a meeting to address comments which require further discussion between our respective designs teams.
11.00 AM – Business unit design team meeting
11 am comes along quite quickly when you’ve got a lot on your plate but every fortnight, we have a design team meeting with everyone in the business unit. This includes interstate employees, who are working on different projects across Australia.
This meeting provides an opportunity for the team to discuss with management the design status of each project and highlight any key challenges or areas for concern that need to be discussed and raised.
You might ask, well why do I need to be there for that? This provides an opportunity for everyone in the team to gain insights on common challenges being faced with clients and specific design considerations that they must be aware of for their own projects.
This is very valuable for a graduate, as it gives a great opportunity to soak in as much experience and insights from field experts working on projects around Australia. Information sharing is a key part of working within a team environment and fostering a place where everyone feels comfortable to share concerns and technical challenges they are facing. This is something my team at UGL focuses on significantly.
12.00 PM – The most important part of the day
Lunchtime! Safe to say working at UGL in Brisbane has its perks. One of them is directly located in South Brisbane and has an immense amount of lunch spots to choose from. If you’re not sure what to choose, Bahn Mi is always a safe bet! Typically, I’ll have lunch with some of my team members and take some time to wind down and reset for the afternoon.
12.30 PM – Back to it
After lunch and before the food coma kicks in, I’ll get back to it and continue with my morning tasks (design comment integration / marking up detailed drawings / reviewing standards related to the design deliverables). Or jump onto a new task. For example, another typical task that is completed by the design team is to put procurement packages together to send out to suppliers.
As a graduate, all of these are new tasks and there is a constant need for guidance. Thankfully the team here at UGL is well experienced and I’ve been working closely with experts in the field who can provide guidance and advice on all my deliverables before submitting them to external parties. However, UGL does not spoon-feed and have provided me with opportunities to take on as much responsibility for my work and have created an environment where learning by experience is encouraged. I may make minor errors during the process but through verification processes, with mentors, these are noted and fixed accordingly.
1.45 PM – General meeting
Typically, every quarter there is a general meeting within the division of the business. This provides every employee in the company an opportunity to take a moment out of their work to reflect on the work the business has been completing over the past year and where we are heading in the next couple of months. This is a great opportunity for graduates to learn more about the business and the industry we are a part of and take note of trends as to where the business will be heading.
3.00 PM – Reflect and reset
Typically, I use the last hour or so of the day to close off some of the tasks I have set myself for the day but also as an opportunity to process what I have learnt in the day. Safe to say as a graduate it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with deadlines and deliverables but a key component of being a graduate is reflecting on your learnings to help solidify and ensure your development is on the right path. UGL makes this quite easy to achieve by providing each graduate with a learning development plan at the start of the program. This highlights key objectives which are typical in a graduate’s development (discipline-specific). My design team also has a specific learning plan for their team which I have also been using in parallel to help guide my learning journey.
4.00 PM – Are they storm clouds?
A common occurrence I’m sure anyone who has lived in Australia has experienced, is the afternoon storm without the umbrella handy, or is that just me? I typically clock off around 4 to begin the commute home and try to beat the storm (unfortunately the storm always catches up).
4.45 PM – Go Exercise
I’ll typically spend an hour most afternoons exercising in some shape or form. Always good to get the heart rate elevated as you will be sitting a lot as a design engineer unless you’re site-based. Then, well, enjoy the afternoon breaks!
7.00 PM – Eat, Sleep, Repeat
Cook up an absolute feast in the kitchen and wind down with some TV or one of the many hobbies I find myself picking up. The night routine typically follows and winding down to sleep, followed by some daily reflection and sleep. Wake up and repeat as outlined above.