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Engineering sparked a new career for electrician Matt

This article appears in: Changing careers, Engineering
Electrician Matt studying engineering in Darwin

Winning not one, but two scholarships has changed the course of Matt’s career. After working as an electrician for 10 years and seeing the projects and positions that would be available to him if he pursued further study, Matt took the plunge to become a mature age engineering student.

A love of tinkering runs in the family. Matt’s father and older brother forged successful technical careers in the Royal Australian Air Force, while he pursued an electrician apprenticeship.

After working as an electrician for 10 years, Matt had a need to understand the inner workings of his craft.

“I came to the realisation that I had an interest in a deeper understanding of the theory behind the work and wanted the ability to have a greater impact on larger projects.”

Through his work as an electrician, he’d been exposed to projects and positions that would be available to him if he pursued further education.

“Interacting and working alongside engineers and project managers allowed me to gain an interest in studying engineering,” he says.

After months of repetitive work, one weekend I decided to contact Charles Darwin University because I was ready to continue learning.”

Shock to the system

Electrician Matt studying engineering at CDU

With the positive memories of studying the Certificate III in Electrotechnology in his mind, his family close by for support, and the impressive opportunities available for Darwin engineers in his sights, studying on campus at CDU was the natural choice.

To lessen the shock of becoming a mature-age student after a decade in the workforce, Matt wanted additional help learning skills like academic writing and referencing.

He took full advantage of CDU’s free Tertiary Enabling Program to prepare himself.

“My maths skills were not up to scratch. I found the bridging courses provided by CDU very helpful."

It was after the completion of the TEP program that Matt was encouraged to look into scholarships.

CDU offers a range of scholarships for all sorts of courses and students, not simply academic achievement.

Winner winner

Being awarded not one but two scholarships significantly eased Matt’s transition from full-time worker to full-time student.

He had applied for and won the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics (DIPL) Scholarship including a 12-week work placement within the Department paid at industry rates, plus an INPEX Scholarship for financial support.

“I have been lucky enough to receive a scholarship from the NT Government and a scholarship from INPEX. Both these scholarships have helped immensely. I generally use the scholarships to allow myself to fully focus on my course during the semester without having to balance too much work into my schedule.”

Alongside helping with the financial impact of returning to study, including textbook purchases and living expenses throughout the semester, Matt noticed the immense value in meeting local industry professionals.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to gain paid experience with the Department during my time studying. This experience will be invaluable.”

“Don’t hesitate to apply for a scholarship!” he adds.

Sparking a new career

Once he finishes studying his Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Electrical and Electronics), Matt hopes to hit the ground running.

He hopes to be “…employed within Darwin and established within the local industry while gaining new skills that could enable me to become a valuable community member.”

Ideally, Matt would like to gain a place in one of the local graduate programs.

“I believe my experiences at CDU and scholarship work placements are preparing me well for the future.”

If, like Matt, you’ve got a passion for figuring out how things work, consider a career in engineering. Explore scholarship opportunities.

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