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Graduating to the next level

21 February 2019

To become a mechanical engineer at Australia’s largest renewable energy generator, a lot of people would say Maria Brescianini must be a genius with superpowers and a photographic memory, right?


Although that would be impressive, as Maria herself is at pains to point out, you don’t need to have a 7.0 GPA to get into the Hydro Tasmania grad program. There are so many different attributes that combine to make you a good candidate for the program. 


“Hydro is a massive organisation and it takes all sorts of people to keep the lights on. Really, any soon to be, or recent, graduates can (and should) apply for the grad program. As long as you are passionate, prepared to work hard, and have a willingness to learn, then there really is every opportunity that you could be standing where I am next year.” 


Maria studied a Bachelor of Engineering in Brazil and at the University of Adelaide. During her first year, she had no real idea of what she wanted to do. That all changed after she went to an energy conference in Rio de Janeiro. 


“There is nothing quite like listening to smart, passionate people discussing the topics they are interested in. I really got a sense from all the speakers at the conference that the energy industry was on the cusp of a massive global transformation. The idea that I could be part of that transformation was something I found really exciting. Helping to make the world a cleaner, more sustainable place is something that I have always been passionate about and the energy industry is teeming with opportunities to, in a very real tangible way, do just that.”


In the last year of her degree Maria received a scholarship to come to Australia and complete her studies at the University of Adelaide. After finishing her undergraduate degree she returned to Brazil and studied for a Master of Mechanical Engineering.


“My Master’s studies were focused on computational fluid dynamics and developing numerical solutions for engineering problems. My Master’s degree really helped to clarify what I wanted to do with my career.”


Maria enjoys the variety she gets within her role and the team she gets work with. 


“I definitely appreciate the depth and range of experience of the people I work with. I love that in the morning I could be doing calculations in the office and then in the afternoon I could be out on site conducting tests! You really do get to work across a range of interesting projects in some of the most remote and beautiful places in the world.


“I love the flexible work arrangements that we have at Hydro. A good work-life balance is really valued here. It’s not just something the recruitment department put in the job ads, but it’s something the company is passionate about providing for every employee.”


As a mechanical engineer, Maria has the opportunity to work in different parts of the business, and has just started a new rotation at Hydro’s Cambridge workshop. In her new role, Maria works on refurbishment projects.  A woman wearing high vis and personal protective equipment standing in front of a turbine three times her height


“At the workshop I have been working with large equipment such as turbines, valves and shafts that get sent from the power stations to the workshop to be refurbished. We dismantle everything so we can assess the condition, repair the part and then send it back to the station where it will probably be helping generate clean energy for the next 30 years. I really enjoy my time working at the workshop. There is a lot of real, practical engineering to be done and my days are very dynamic. I just love it!”


“In my last rotation, I was based at the Hobart office working with asset strategy and long term refurbishment plans.  It's great that as part of the grad program you get to work in lots of different areas of the business.  It really helps give you an understanding of what Hydro Tasmania does as a whole. Plus if you decide that Hydro isn’t the right fit for you at the end of your program, your CV looks amazing.” 


As for advice to any students aspiring to take on a graduate role at Hydro, Maria thinks it’s important to get a wide range of experiences, adding that whether it’s getting involved in extra-curricular activities like sporting teams, volunteering or traveling around the world, it’s important for students and future graduates to develop skills that can’t necessarily be gained from study. 


Maria stated that when it comes to the interview process, it’s important to be prepared, remain calm and be genuine. 


“Make a great first impression by knowing the organisation. Don’t look like you’ve just walked in off the street. Do a bit of research, know our values, who we are and what we do. Most importantly, be yourself. Let your personality come through and remember interviews are as much about the interviewer impressing you as they are about you impressing them.”


As for your CV, Maria’s advice is to make it short, sharp and to the point. 


“If it’s longer than two pages you are doing it wrong. Include your hobbies. You need to be able to demonstrate that you have diverse skills and abilities. If you can’t do that through your employment history don’t be afraid to use your extra-curricular activities.


“Oh, and obviously, get someone to proofread everything for you before you send it. There will be over 900 applicants this year. Don’t get yourself disqualified early because of a typo.”


If you are lucky enough to make it through to the assessment centre, remember graduate programs are competitive but try not to pit yourself against all the other grads that have been invited.  It's not about you versus them.  You’re not being assessed comparatively to others you’re being assessed on your fit for the role. 


Learn more about our Graduate Program (and apply!!!)


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