Meet Lucy

In high school Lucy loved maths and sciences, but initially she wasn’t quite sure which direction she wanted go with her career. Eventually she decided to give engineering a go, enrolling to undertake a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil & Environmental) at University of Adelaide.

Lucy did her student placement with Tonkin while she was studying, and we’ve been lucky to have her as a member of our Adelaide water team since then. While she she's relatively early in her career journey, Lucy has already proven herself to be a valuable member of the Tonkin team, with a bright future ahead.  

A typical day for Lucy

Lucy is part of Tonkin’s water team at our head office in Adelaide; Tonkin’s largest Adelaide-based team and a diverse group with various levels of experience and expertise. We asked Lucy to tell us what a typical day looks like for her in her role as a project engineer:

“I usually start my day at around 8am. People come in at different times, usually between 8 and 9am. One of the things I love about Tonkin is that we have really flexible work arrangements. I’m a morning person, so I try to get started early.”

“I work largely on potable water and wastewater capital delivery projects. I’m usually working across about three projects at a time, sometimes I may have up to five projects on the go and sometimes I’m fully resourced to a single project. Across a normal day I could be writing reports, putting together drawing sets and meeting with colleagues, contractors or clients.”

The more we talked with Lucy, it soon became clear how important ongoing learning and development opportunities are to her as an early career engineer. We asked Lucy what types of projects she likes working on most:

“I get most excited about working on projects that are multi-disciplinary – many of our projects involve elements of civil, mechanical, and structural engineering. While I’m not an expert in all these fields, I often find that at the end of a project I’ve gained a lot of knowledge which I can draw on for future projects.”


Personalised support for graduates

Working on real-world engineering projects for the first time has the potential to be a bit daunting. This is where Tonkin’s supportive culture makes a real difference to graduates as they kick off their career. After completing her student placement with Tonkin, Lucy come onboard with us as a fulltime graduate engineer, and took part in Tonkin’s Graduate Development Program.  

“The structure at Tonkin is quite flat. As a first-year graduate, you have as much contact with senior people in the business as people who’ve been here for decades. There’s very little hierarchy and what that means is that people are very approachable. I’ve never had trouble asking for help or input on things, which is something I really appreciate.”

“Being able to connect with other grads through Tonkin’s Graduate Development Program has been really good from a social point of view, especially because it allows you to get to know people across the business who you may not have any interaction with on a project basis.”

“The mentorship at Tonkin is great. Within our water team we have an array of experienced mechanical, structural and civil project specialists. You could name something that comes up in a project and you could ask everyone in the water team “Who would you go to for this?” and we would all say the same person.”

“I’ve also worked with and sort advice from experienced engineers in Tonkin’s other offices. For example, our water engineers in Brisbane and Mount Gambier, and structural engineers in Tonkin’s Sunshine Coast office. Reaching out to principal and senior engineers to get their opinion on things is great for diversification of review and their specialist input has been a big help for my technical development.”


Looking to the future

In the past few years in particular, Tonkin’s national team has grown significantly, as has our capability and range of services that we’re able to offer our clients. We asked Lucy what she’s looking forward to in her years ahead:

“I’m excited about the future at Tonkin because we keep growing. We keep getting bigger and what that means is that we’ll be able to keep taking on more and more diverse projects.”

“Although Tonkin is a mid-sized consultancy, we punch above our weight on project delivery. People may perceive us an Adelaide-only business because we were founded in SA, but we’re now a national company that sits on many of the same procurement panels that the big multinational companies are on.”


Are you a civil engineering student or graduate, interested in finding out how Tonkin can help you can kick-off your career, like Lucy?

Find out more about Tonkin Internships and Graduate Development Program.