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Cardno Western Australian engineer nominated for lead coordinator role for Engineers Australia's high school outreach program 'EngTalk'

A whole new world opened up to 27-year-old, Owen Keenan as he was mentored throughout the course of his engineering degree at the University of Western Australia.

In fact, what he learnt from his mentors while taking his first career steps as an engineer encouraged him to give back to those seeking advice.

Owen Keenan promoting the Engineers Australia's high school outreach program 'EngTalk'

Structural Engineer, Owen Keenan selected for 2019 coordinator role

Now a full-time Cardno employee in our Western Australian Structures team, Owen continues his journey mentoring students and young engineers to help open their eyes to the variety of career paths that are available within the engineering-world.

"As a young person, it can be such a daunting time for someone graduating, looking for work and trying to decide what the right path is to choose," Owen said.

"The most challenging thing for me was knowing what role in engineering I wanted to take up. When I met my first mentor in university I began to realise within minutes of speaking with him what it was I wanted to do."

In December 2018, Owen was nominated for the 2019 Coordinator Role for Engineers Australia's high school outreach program 'EngTalk'. This program has been running for four years and is dedicated to educating students in years 7-10 about the engineering profession and its wide range of career options.

"I really enjoy working with students and putting myself in their shoes again," he said.

"When they have a willingness to learn more, they work it out for themselves after going in blind and they become aware of what they are capable of, that is the best part."

As a volunteer for EngTalk, Owen will help expose WA high school students to the engineering profession and encourage more students to take up STEM pathways (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

"There is so much for students to look forward to in the near future. Our digital and technological world is forever evolving and our roles in the industry aren't so defined any more, they continue to vary," he said.

"If you are a new student trying to break into engineering, be prepared to adapt and experience diversity. Be open to new challenges on a regular basis and push your personal boundaries. This is the best advice my mentors gave me."

Volunteering with EngTalk also helps promote the engineering profession by taking presentations to high school students or taking part in career fairs. They regularly call on volunteers to support other events such as career expositions and science festivals for school, universities and the industry.

"Being involved in a program that gives back to others and helps guide students along the way is very rewarding and I want to continue to participate, provide advice and share my experiences with others to hopefully make a difference for young engineers," he said.

Cardno values our partnership with Engineers Australia as we continue to connect like-minded peers and advocate the importance of engineering in our community for the future.