Meet Tony

Tony studied civil engineering and finance and was a graduate project officer at Transport for NSW, based in Wagga Wagga, in regional NSW. We interviewed Tony when he commenced the program.





What did you study and where?

I studied a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil Engineering and a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance at the University of New South Wales.

What made you want to apply for the NSW Government Graduate program?

I remember approaching graduation and thinking about where I wanted to go. I wanted my work to have a meaningful impact. The NSW Government Graduate program offers opportunities to work on projects that will directly impact the future of the state. 

What were three key things you learned in the Graduate Program?

  • Say yes. You only have six months in each placement, and sometimes there’s opportunities that don’t come up very often. Try to do as many things as you can, you might never be able to do them again or never get the opportunity to do them. So, make use of your time and say yes. 

  • Be proactive. As a graduate, I found that sometimes my position in a project is not as entry level as you might think. Your amount of responsibility could be quite high. Just speak up and you may find yourself working on very niche but interesting and unexpected projects.

  • Maintain relationships. Often, you will encounter the same people when working on different projects, so it’s a good idea to maintain a good working relationship with everyone you work with. 

Can you tell us about your placements so far?

I’m currently in my first rotation, where I’ve been assigned to Transport for NSW in maintenance and delivery project services in the Wagga Wagga office. Essentially the team oversees the project development and delivery of roads and bridges, manages road maintenance council contracts with local government, and prepares financial reports. I’m currently working on four projects in the environmental assessment and design stages in the Southwest (Riverina) region. Two are bridge painting projects, one is a culvert replacement and the other is the construction of a raised median on a road.

I’ve been working with my team on project development and delivery. My placement manager and I are also planning to integrate my business degree to start helping with the contract management side for the road maintenance projects.

What is your role, and have you done any field work for it?

My role is to manage the development of the project itself. The corresponding role outside the graduate program would be a project engineer or a project manager role. I manage everything from concept to delivery readiness and will hand it over to our selected partners for delivery.

I’ve gone on-site for three projects, and I’ve done environmental and heritage assessments, and I do have an upcoming site visit to brief our design team. I initially expected that as a graduate, I would be taking more of a supportive position, but I’m glad that I get to be on the frontline of developing these projects.

What’s your favourite part of your role?

I love the variety of the work. There are different phases in project development to manage, so even in one project, there’s different types of work I get to do. But overall, I think what I enjoy the most is how each project is always different. Even for the two bridge painting projects I have, while the scope of works might be similar, one is actually a lot more deteriorated, so it needs additional work on top of that.

Outside of work I’ve really enjoyed meeting other graduates and the networking workshops and sessions the graduate team have put together for us. 

Why did you select to be in a regional location and what has that been like for you?

I wanted a change of pace. It’s quite hectic in Sydney, and I thought I would waste a lot of time just from commuting. In regional areas you have a lot more time on your hands, you can try new things, fit more into your schedule, or dedicate more time to something you especially like. 

What advice would you give a student thinking about applying for the Graduate Program?

Understand what type of role you’re looking for. Really align yourself and get familiar with the NSW Government capability framework and understand the public sector values. Understand what makes the public sector stand out from the private sector for you.  

If you’re applying for the Engineering Stream, understand how the stream would be beneficial to your development as an engineer. Look into the opportunities for further professional development and see how you can make the Graduate Program line up with that. For example, Engineers Australia has a Chartered Professional Engineer credential. See what you can do to get a head start or to help facilitate it.