Learning on the Dulux factory floor

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Asher Marks in the Engineering Practice Academy.

Asher Marks experienced a three-month placement at DuluxGroup, working as a student engineer.

In summary

  • DuluxGroup is a partner of Swinburne’s Engineering Practice Academy
  • The Academy operates as an engineering consultancy and prepares students for professional life by engaging them in projects alongside industry and community partners

As part of Swinburne’s partnership with DuluxGroup, Engineering Practice Academy associate, Asher Marks, secured a three-month placement to learn the ins and outs of how the global brand operates.

“All I was thinking going into it is that I wanted to do well, and with a title of ‘student engineer’ I kind of expected an internship,” says Asher.

The first day involved a tour of the plant, learning about processes and procedures, and other induction training. But soon Asher was briefed on his main task - planning the addition of a new filling line to the plant.

“At first it was a bit scary being trusted with such a big task, but the team were really supportive and helpful,” he says. “They expected me to do the work and treated me like one of the team—not a student.”

“Some of the day-to-day tasks included plant maintenance, ordering spare parts for machines and attending meetings with my manager, Brendan Coffey.” 

Understanding the factory environment

As the Engineering Manager for Cabot’s and Dulux Protective Coatings, Mr Coffey, says the team wanted Asher to experience what it was like to work in a factory environment.

“After he familiarised himself with the factory, we gave him the challenge of co-ordinating a future project with multiple stakeholders as well as a tight timeline,” says Mr Coffey.

"He really stepped up to the role and successfully worked with stakeholders to determine and document project objectives and requirements, enabling our engineers to take the project to the next stage.”

Reflecting on real-world experience

Asher believes that one of the best aspects of his placement was working closely with Mr Coffey. He says this gave him great insight into the diversity of what an engineer does in a day.

“There are contractors to organise, systems to fix, meetings to attend, and finding time to help me out too! All in one day.”

Reflecting on the skills he will take back to university, Asher says “I understand the importance of deadlines, project planning, communicating across the whole team and being as specific as possible.”

“It was a really great experience.  It showed me that there is such diversity in engineering, and I feel like I have so much more to learn before knowing what type of engineer I want to be when I graduate”

Group Engineering Manager with DuluxGroup, Luke Brady, says he’s glad that Asher both enjoyed his time and gained valuable experience.

“We’re also grateful for his important contribution to the filling line project and day-to-day operations of the factory,” he says.

“This was a further example of why we are proud to partner with Swinburne’s Engineering Practice Academy and we look forward to supporting Asher and his fellow Associates develop into the ‘new breed’ of engineers that are ready to respond to the future opportunities and challenges of our industry.”