4 minute read
Austmine’s Accelerating Women in METS (Mining Equipment, Technology and Services) program, funded by the Commonwealth Government, is a three-year university student internship program for women studying in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
This program, designed to boost the participation of women in the METS sector, also seeks to address the STEM skills shortage more broadly.
In 2021, Mipac decided to take part in the predecessor of this program (which included men and women) and welcomed student software engineer, Olivia Ronda, to its Development Team.
We took both Olivia and her Team Leader, Mark Regazzoli, aside to tell us about their experience.
Mipac: Thank you both for taking the time to chat! Olivia, can you tell us why you decided to get involved in this program?
Olivia: I was unsure exactly what I wanted to pursue after finishing my degree [at that time, a dual degree in electrical engineering and computer science]. There were a lot of options! I also wanted to gain some experience in the software field, to see if that was something I might want to do. And I actually ended up switching to just a software engineering degree afterwards, because I enjoyed what I was doing so much.
The program also sounded good in terms of having a good balance of actual experience and additional industry seminars on topics like networking and being professional in the workplace.
Mipac: That’s great. So, the experience actually impacted your long-term career decisions?
Mipac: Mark, can you tell us what the recruitment process for this program was like from your side?
Mark: It was pretty straight forward. We were provided with seven or eight different candidate CVs and shortlisted a few to interview, of which Olivia was one. Once we’d chosen Olivia, she worked with us full time for 10 weeks.
Mipac: Why did you decide to get your team involved?
Mark: Being a former student having to do work experience, I know what it’s like! It’s good to give back, and nice to be able to help someone see how the industry works, give them exposure and help them to figure out if they’ve chosen the right career path.
For our team, it’s also been an opportunity to develop skills in training others, as well as to learn something new from Olivia.
Mipac: Olivia, how would you describe your experience working with Mipac and more specifically, the Development team?
Olivia: It’s been great. One of the first things that stood out were the culture of the team and how welcoming and willing to work together everyone was. The experience really helped me grow and develop my skills, and I’ve had the chance to work with everyone on the team on a different project. I’ve also been exposed to different frameworks and languages, which has helped me figure out what I like.
Mipac: It sounds like you learnt a lot.
Olivia: Absolutely. I always say it’s probably taught me more than some of my uni courses! What you learn is up to date and recent and applied to real world situations.
Mipac: Mark, what’s the biggest benefit that Olivia has brought to your team?
Mark: Oh, there’s quite a few things! She’s a really quick learner and pushes the team to find new ways of doing things. She’s also very creative and has a good eye for detail, always making sure things look good and well laid-out. She does the best sprint review presentations of anyone in the team!
Mipac: And you decided to keep her onboard…
Mark: Yeah. We saw that having Olivia was mutually beneficial so we asked her if she’d like to stay with us on a casual basis, while she finishes her studies. She’s been with us ever since.
Mipac: Would you recommend the program to other organisations?
Mark: Yes, definitely. We were all young once and needed that opportunity. And it’s a good learning opportunity for the people within your own business, too.
Mipac: And Olivia, any hopes and dreams for the future?
Olivia: I love what I’m doing now and feel really lucky that I found this. In the long term, I would like to keep working in a similar full stack development environment, because I enjoy seeing it all work together. I might add a bit of embedded systems programming too. Who knows what the future holds!