News & Insights

Julian Dixon... from intern to graduate

When asked what he loves about his job, Julian Dixon laughed.

“Lots of things. Probably too many things.”

Julian decided in year 12 that he was going to study engineering. He’d taken on a project to build a beach buggy. It was a complete rebuild, fuel line ruptured in the chassis tunnel, severely corroded floor pans… serious TLC and modification were required.

He thought the buggy project would give him a taste of what engineering could offer him as a career later in life.

He went on to study mechanical engineering at uni after his buggy project. He worked in the mechanical engineering field for around a year but felt there was so much more he could still learn and experience in other disciplines.

In trying to work out his next steps, he remembered back to the buggy. During the certification process to ensure it was roadworthy, Julian met a retiring mechanical engineer, who chose to transition to structural engineering. It was actually him who put the idea of structural engineering to Julian.

For the last year and a bit, Julian has been on the journey from intern to graduate. Since starting his internship and first consultancy role in December 2020 at the height of the pandemic, Julian, like most, was working from home. It’s not how you imagine starting a new job, but Julian’s team made him feel right at home. In this time, he’s worked with our infrastructure and structures teams in Perth and has found his niche. Structures.

Structural engineering, Julian says, is interesting.

“You get to see the considerations you make on the job, in your real life. You get to look at what’s being built and understand exactly what’s going on.”

The job is also challenging and new ways to tackle projects are always being considered. The Dome Café at the Peninsula Hotel in Maylands is a heritage-listed, local icon. Julian and his team were asked to complete an asset audit – inspect the conditions, take photos and make an assessment about what is happening with the structure. But given its restricted access and heritage status, where would they even begin? After some calculated trial and error Julian and the team ended up conducting the inspection with a drone. It flew above the structure and took photos for the team to assess.

Drone image from the top of The Dome Cafe.

If there’s one thing that Julian’s learnt so far, it's that you truly do learn something new every day.

Julian genuinely loves his job. He finds the projects engaging, likes the balance between site work and office time and has a great team of people around him, happy to help each other whenever required. He’s been lucky enough to travel as well. He took a trip down memory lane recently when a project took him to his old primary school!

Structural Engineering Leader, Kris Hird, said Julian has taken the opportunities presented to him and run with them.

"Julian demonstrated an enthusiasm to learn, grow and develop which was infectious. His commitment to his own development and the success of his projects made the decision to offer him a graduate role an easy one. I look forward to seeing him realise his full potential", Kris said.

Looking forward to the next year and beyond, as officially a graduate engineer, Julian is excited about projects in the pipeline.

He’s grateful to lots of different people from around the business, from senior leaders to fellow grads for acting as mentors and always being happy to help.

If he has one piece of advice for anyone on the same or similar journey to him it would be...

“Give it a go, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t automatically assume you can’t do it, it might take a bit of effort but you’ll probably be able to do it!”

Julian Dixon is a Graduate Engineer – Bridges based out of our Perth, Western Australia office.