4 minute read
Jake Minehan always loved gadgets and building things, so it was no surprise that he decided to study mechatronics engineering at university. Now a graduate engineer at Mipac, working with one of the company’s biggest clients, he says on-the-job learning has been vastly different to sitting in a classroom.
We sat down with him to find out why and to learn more about what’s it like to be a graduate engineer at Mipac.
Mipac: Hi, Jake! Thanks for chatting to us. Can you tell us about your studies?
Jake: I studied mechatronics engineering at university, with a minor in robotics. During high school I was interested in robotics and I always loved building things and making little gadgets, so it was fairly logical. Even as a kid I loved building motorised LEGO creations.
Mipac: What exactly is mechatronics?
Jake: I guess it’s a mix of mechanical and electrical engineering, with a bit of software. Which is a great fit for Mipac, actually.
Mipac: And future-focused?
Jake: Yeah, absolutely. I even did two subjects on AI at uni!
Mipac: So how did it feel to graduate and have to find a job?
Jake: I was looking for positions for mechatronics engineers on LinkedIn, found Mipac and noticed the company had roles available. Industrial automation sounded similar to what I’d studied, just on a larger scale, so I thought the kind of work Mipac did sounded interesting.
Mipac: How was the application and onboarding process?
Jake: It must have been smooth because I don’t really remember it, to be honest [laughs]! I remember I had to submit a resume and cover letter and go through two rounds of interviews before being offered the position.
Mipac: And what’s it like working as a graduate engineer in the real world compared with what you learnt at university?
Jake: It’s extremely different! I feel like a lot of important things were glossed over at university, as we were so focused on theory and calculations. At work, we don’t do many calculations at all – we have programs that do that for us. There are more practical elements too when you’re on the job, like choosing a piece of hardware and deciding between vendors. Most of what I’ve learnt has been on the job, though uni gave me the fundamentals.
Mipac: And how have you found the culture at Mipac?
Jake: It’s great, there are lots of experienced people here and everyone is helpful and keen to see me succeed. I think overall Mipac has a big culture of continuous learning. No one is a specialist in everything so there is a lot of collaboration between team members and projects. And there’s basically a specialist in house for any kind of control system.
Mipac: Operations is a busy team. How do you go about getting help when you need it?
Jake: It’s fairly informal, mostly. I might just send a message [on Microsoft Teams] and say, ‘When you have time, could you run through this with me?’ Once the person is free, they’ll call me or come over to chat. I do feel like I sometimes ask too many questions [laughs]. But there are lots of people to ask, so if someone is too busy, I can usually find someone else.
Mipac: How would you describe Mipac to other graduate engineers looking for roles?
Jake: I would say that Mipac is the perfect place for a graduate because you’re learning so much – and I guess that’s the goal during these early years.
Mipac: How is the graduate program structured?
Jake: You get the opportunity to work across different teams and try different things. I’ve been in a couple of different teams now and on several different projects, including a project with Ok Tedi and some data-historian work with the digital solutions team.
Mipac: Any highlights?
Jake: I enjoyed the electrical work I was doing early on, so now I am doing more of that. The team I work with now on the Ok Tedi project are also a great bunch of people and lots of fun to work with.
Mipac: So what are your long-term career aspirations?
Jake: I’m not sure about long-term, but in the short-term I’d love to do some site work. I think that’s where I’ll gain a lot of knowledge.
Mipac: Thanks for taking the time to chat to us!
Jake: No worries!