Engineering Cadetship in Regional Australia

Hey! I’m Harry Mills, a 22-year-old Engineering Cadet at Hanlons in Tamworth, NSW.

In (and outside) of our office, we have been discussing how to put into words what I actually do every day of the week. After much chat inside and outside of the office, at the mines, beside the railway tracks, and near a new subdivision, well…. Here goes eh!

My highschool electives were centred around my love for science and the environment. Outside of school I was focused on Choir, Rugby teams, Cattle showing and String groups. I applied to UNE for a Bachelor of Environmental Science, enrolling in this degree for the wide variety of science I would experience and the countless opportunities in the environmental industry.

Growing up in these different areas and communities I began to see how connected and important the environment was in all aspects of life. My experience in agriculture showed me the struggles of the industry and how the environment plays a role in the operation and construction of farming operations. The lack of open spaces and greenery in Sydney gave me a different perspective of how developments incorporate greenery into their designs and the impact large developments have on the surrounding environment.

Heading off to university, in my first year I knew where I needed to be. My goal was to work in a supportive environment where I could put my skills into practice, while still learning in a theoretical capacity. I had the best of both worlds, completing my degree and learning on the job, gaining industry experience. It was clear to me that in order to get the most out of my degree I had to take on a higher workload. Working in a motivating environment where I could learn, help out and add value, was a defining moment in my  career. Hanlons were a sponsor of our Country Rugby team, it was these small town connections that are so evident throughout regional NSW, that encouraged me to apply for the Cadetship.

Hanlons Consulting in Tamworth NSW was my Holy Grail find. Working in a multi-disciplinary firm, provided me with the opportunity to learn from environmental staff, designers, engineers, and surveyors, broadening my skill set with assistance from a supportive team. Reviewing the various projects Hanlons were part of across regional Australia assured me that my time spent working with the company would be incredibly valuable, both personally and professionally.

Learning the theory at university is one thing, but gaining real world experience is a whole ‘nother story. Through my integration with projects, it was clear just how interconnected the science, surveying and engineering disciplines are. I gained a range of skills and extensive knowledge that were incredibly relevant to my degree and the various units I studied. My university results demonstrate that working whilst studying is extremely beneficial, allowing you to understand practical concepts and deepen your knowledge and understanding of the topics you study - adding priceless value to your overall learning experience.

A number of the Hanlons Consulting team members are undertaking further study, creating an atmosphere of determination to always strive for more and never settle into a rut. This was incredibly inspiring and has been the driving force for my determination to undertake further study to broaden my skill set, and bring other assets to the team. Discovering the importance and intriguing nature of engineering led me to further my study in this discipline.

My experience with Hanlons has been all I could have hoped for and more! I’ve had the chance to be contracted into an operational role at a coal mine, learning environmental operation skills and the importance of preliminary consulting work to the success of a project. I have learnt that it is the planning and engineering work that ultimately determines the efficiency and competency of a project, and I now know what is required from a consultant to ensure the success of a project.


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