Melbourne Water

Jarrod Mitchell explains how the professional placements program is developing the next generation of engineers.

Portrait of Jarrod Mitchell, Team Leader Urban Growth Services at Melbourne Water

"Melbourne Water has been a partner with Swinburne for more than 10 years now with great success.

The role in my team was traditionally thought to be too complex for an undergraduate, however we tested this last year with a student from the program and he delivered great results for our team and proved just how dynamic students can be.

The placement students within my team are often in the thick of it managing complex projects and negotiating outcomes for our customers and the community.

They take on the full breadth of their role which may include drainage engineering, planning, relationship management and managing customer expectations. Specifically these tasks include managing greenfield development planning applications and setting drainage conditions on planning permits, undertaking a assessment of hydraulic modelling, ensuring drainage assets are functional in design and meet Melbourne Water and State government requirements.

The students align to Melbourne Waters core development programs like the rest of our employees. This is called POD; Performance, Opportunity and Development. POD is managed through our Career Development Centre at Melbourne Water and is about giving everyone the opportunity to reach their full potential by engaging in regular conversations between employees and managers, setting realistic goals and creating development plans that support growth now and in the future. Through the placement the students gain real life experience that will help them break into permanent roles across many industries.

The professional placements program is an excellent program for Melbourne Water to develop the next generation of engineers and show them how they can be part of creating future communities using their engineering skills and fostering relationships with the land development industry.

80% of students that have been on the program over the past 10 years are in permanent Melbourne Water roles which shows how well the program is working for us and that young engineers want to stay.

Industry can gain some great young minds to help them deliver their services, whilst also influencing new talent with their future career path. An additional benefit we have found is that our junior engineers desire to train and mentor the students which in turn helps them personally develop leadership and coaching skills."