Inspire : Public Works July Aug 2012
27 ANTOINE MAYOUX Why did you choose to come to Australia? A lot of students go to Europe because it's easy to travel in Europe, but in certain ways it's too similar to our culture. I was just looking for an English- speaking country. I had this opportunity with IPWEA so I chose Australia. What do you see as the biggest di erences between engineering studies in France and Australia? In France, it's less specialised. Here people can choose between construction, traffc, mining, while we have all these subjects in a single training course. What did you learn about engineering in Australia? My background is more on sites, not in an offce. I was really interested in organisational culture. We have big challenges with that in France. The biggest lesson is the way people are – how easy it is to speak to everyone: the line manager, the section manager, everyone. In France we have the hierarchy of general manager, managers, employees and it’s far more diffcult to cross the different levels. France is a really traditional country, in some ways old-fashioned. What was your most interesting experience in Sydney? I visited the M2 Motor way constr uction site. That was a big site, working in narrow conditions and diffcult conditions with traffc. I also went to the Mardi Gras – that was interesting too! Where do you see your career heading? I’m in road construction and excavation, but maybe in fve years I will be in bridges or something else. That's what I want to do because I think it's important to be versatile. ANTHONY OGLE Why did you decide to take on a French engineering student for work experience? This wasn't an option of 'how could we steal French engineers'. This was about getting French ideas and approaches. If we want world best practice we have to look at the whole of the world, not just parts of the world. I wanted to fnd out how other countries look at training and developing engineers, so we can tell our governments, universities and councils what we need to do here. I also wanted to help promote Ryde's reputation of being innovative and at the forefront of asset management. How did you manage the process of bringing Antoine to Australia? When I frst looked into the paperwork, I almost threw my hands up in the air and walked away. But then I discovered the simple thing is to use the experts for it. There are labour hire companies out there that specialise in work visas. It’s so easy. Just fll out a few forms and it's all handled for you. Before Antoine arrived, we realised we were having diffculties fnding accommodation. There's a shortage of accommodation in Sydney for students short term. Fortunately we found a staff member who was interested in billeting Antoine. How much of your time did Antoine take up? I've spent some time with Antoine giving him some information and guidance, but most of it has been letting him work with my staff. That's part of his cultural mission, to see what the Australian workplace is like. What did you learn from Antoine? He confrmed what I thought: that our approach to engineering students -- how we train and set them up in the workplace -- needs a serious overhaul. France values its engineers highly and has apprenticeships for engineers. In Australia, we don't have apprenticeships beyond TAFE or diploma-style courses. They also are more management-focused and humanistic, whereas our courses are more narrow, providing almost only technical subjects. I don't think that makes for as capable an engineer. ••• If you would like to fnd out more about this work experience program, you can contact Anthony on (02) 9952 8125 or firstname.lastname@example.org CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION Have your say on this story. Go to http://goo.gl/8QdLV to comment on this article.
Public Works Sept Oct 2012