Students get hands on at UTS Central
These Bachelor of Engineering students are literally making their mark on UTS. They've scored paid internships with industrial design firm Tilt and are part of the team completing our newest campus building.
When it opens in mid-2019, UTS Central will have a lot on offer for students from across the university, in terms of services and spaces to study and socialise. For a handful of students from the Faculty of Engineering and IT, the new building is also providing a unique opportunity to get their hands dirty with some real-world work experience.
Construction-spotters on Alumni Green might have noticed an intricate network of white tubing and geometric sail-like structures installed between the building’s dual facades. This is the structure of the purpose-built sun shading that helps regulate UTS Central’s internal environment.
“The sun shading is highly practical and will provide variable shading from the harsh western sun,” explains Simon Thorby, a final year Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering student who has been working on the installation. “The stunning geometric design also adds to the overall building image and is a real feature of that northern aspect.”
Simon is interning with Tilt, the industrial design firm behind the innovative shading that responds to the height of the sun at different times of year. He has been working alongside Mads Haugestad, another final year Mechanical Engineering student. The opportunity arose out of the UTS Industry Studio subject Mechanical and Mechatronic Design, coordinated by lecturer Marc Carmichael, which helps to skill-up students by facilitating practical experience with industry.
“The opportunity to be hands-on at UTS Central has taught me a lot, including how important teamwork and communications are to make sure deadlines are met and the worksite is kept safe,” says Mads.
“I was surprised by the amount of work that has to be done to keep a project running smoothly and how willing people are to work extra hard for a while to keep on track.”
Tilt is one of many subcontractors bringing their expertise to the UTS Central project. According to Managing Director Tim Phillips, the decision to offer paid work experience to UTS students was an easy one.
“The benefit in employing engineering students over other short-term workers is that we know we’ll have people assisting who are enthusiastic, keen to learn and have a good technical understanding,” he says.
“For the students, it’s a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience on a large live project before entering the workforce and a great reference for their CV. Mads, Simon and the other UTS interns have gained experience in technical assembly, technical engineering and problem solving, and have been able to put their engineering skills into practice.”
Simon agrees that the internship has helped him develop a broad range of practical skills, as well as his communication and project management abilities. “We’ve had insight into the importance of liaising with other contractors working across this massive project, so that everyone on site has the access and resources they need,” he says.
And what’s the best feature of the newest UTS building?
“The range of new environments available,” says Simon. “From the new green terrace areas to the student lounges, there are all kinds of spaces to utilise for solo or collaborative work.”
“And lots of wide open spaces with heaps of natural light and space to sit and work,” Mads chimes in. “It’s a beautiful building from the outside, and the insides are coming along nicely now too. I am really looking forward to seeing the building open before I graduate.”
How to sell yourself as an A+ intern
Tilt Managing Director Tim Phillips gives some practical advice.
“Be enthusiastic, ask questions and be willing to listen and learn. We look for those qualities in all of our potential employees, including interns. When you start an internship you won’t have years of experience behind you, so an eagerness to learn on the job is essential.”
“Obviously a good academic record is important but we want people on our team who are well-rounded, so we also look at other hands-on experience and personal projects that students are working on outside their degree.”
“Gain as much work experience through your degree as you can, with different kinds of employers. This will be valuable to prospective employers but also give you insight into the types of companies and organisations you might want to work with before you look for a fulltime role.”
If you're a UTS student you can find internship opportunities, advice and support at CareerHub.
UTS Central has been designed by FJMT, with construction work coordinated by head contractor Richard Crookes Constructions, and will open in mid-2019. Find out more about the new building here.