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Case study

A life in Australia: engineering in new environments

13 August 2018

Working on multi-disciplinary projects like the Sydney Metro are a major attraction to working in Australia

A life in Australia: engineering in new environments
Working on multi-disciplinary projects like the Sydney Metro are a major attraction to working in Australia

Moving thousands of kilometres from his home town of Cumbernauld (20km outside Glasgow) to Perth, with his wife and two children in tow, is not a decision that can be made on a whim.

However, the opportunity of being exposed to vast and diverse projects, coupled with Australia's stunning weather, made the choice a lot easier.

"I'm originally from just outside Glasgow and started my career in the city. I received a call from SMEC asking me if I wanted to become part of the team."

Making the choice

With all of his extended family in the UK, it was a difficult choice to make, but it was the opportunity to work for SMEC with world-class clients he knew of and respected, that appealed to him. Scott, his wife and two children were happy to swap UK's dreary weather for Perth's sunny climate and laidback lifestyle.

"Concerns for us were mainly around the kids being settled in the UK with their schooling, friends and sports clubs.

"We realised we could have all of that in Australia too, but when you are settled, taking the children out of their comfort zones seems daunting.

"But sometimes I think the kids find it easier than us to adapt and I'm pleased that they have taken the move in their stride.

"Obviously, the weather in Perth is a major draw card. I think the lifestyle generally is better in Australia and the weather does make a difference. Just being able to come into work in the morning and see the sun shining sets a positive tone for the whole day!

"And we plan on taking advantage of the lifestyle. Come October I will be at the beach with the kids every day after work, which is something you never do after work in the UK."

Transferrable skills and experience

Scott's role as a rail project manager means he's charged with several responsibilities; building capacity in his team, managing budgets and programs, client liaison, reporting and the list goes one. Only his second week in the job, Scott is still finding his feet. However, his breadth of experience, having managed the program of works for the multi-assets framework agreement (MAFA) in Scotland, has put him good stead to take on his new role.

"Being the new guy in the office is always hard, but they make it easy at SMEC," he said.

"I did my research, I had an idea of what I was coming to which has made the transition easier for me professionally.

"The multidisciplinary projects attracted me to Australia, I find the sheer volume of transport work here amazing and something I wanted to be a part of."

Having the opportunity to work for a company like SMEC was a wonderful opportunity for Scott.

"SMEC has a great culture and the clients and projects that it secures is a drawcard for any project engineer," he said.

"When I arrived I found out about SMEC's parent company; the Surbana Jurong Group. To be honest it was quite exciting as I never realised how big SMEC is until I got here.

"Talking to the team here about the organisation it became obvious that there will be huge opportunities and the possibilities for career projection and project involvement seem limitless."

Factors to consider

Calling Australia home has been a great move for his family but Scott says the ex-pat life and moving around the world long-term isn't a decision to be made lightly. My advice for anyone in a position to make the move would be to put a list of pros and cons in place, make an informed decision and involve the people that matter to you.

"For us the cons are missing family. But on the flips side, we see them at least once a year and the time we do spend together is action-packed quality family time.

"And it goes without saying that my wife, children and I appreciate the lovely beaches, a great lifestyle and beautiful weather. You can't complain about that."

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Careers with SMEC

Eligibility criteria for working in Australia

This is a sponsored case study provided by SMEC. Views expressed do not reflect those of ICE.

  • SMEC, an Australian based-firm