With two years of learning behind her in the Graduate Program, Tricia started a new role in February, only to find the world, workplace and herself pivoting quickly to adjust to working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
With an aptitude for maths that Tricia discovered in high school, she chose engineering as a natural progression. Through university, she found it was the challenge she enjoyed most. “You can build up a wealth of knowledge at different levels of a system from circuitry to integration with other systems. All the projects I worked on have challenged me in different ways and expanded my knowledge in different areas and different levels of a system,” says Tricia.
Tricia’s enthusiam for a challenge has been an asset this year. With two years of learning behind her in the Graduate Program, Tricia started a new role in February, learning new processes and stepping up to new responsibilities, only to find the world, workplace and herself pivoting quickly to adjust to working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tricia describes the quietness of the site, with only employees undertaking site-critical work remaining. She performs important lab work including the development and dry runs of production test procedures. “A large majority of people are working from home if they can to support the people who need to be on site, helping to minimise how many people you interact with on a daily basis. We are lucky, the building I am in is large enough to support spacing out all the employees who need to be on site for their work,” says Tricia.
"I didn’t mind staying on site. The Defence Force doesn’t stop. They are supporting the community and they need someone to support the work that they do. A lot of the work we do also puts work in the hands of smaller local businesses and it’s important to help keep more people in jobs.”
Throughout 2020 there has been a lot of change but as an alumni of the BAE Systems Graduate Program, Tricia is well practiced in adapting. The program runs over two years, with graduates undertaking four different rotations, allowing them to have greater exposure to different parts of a project lifecycle, from early design to in service support/sustainment and decommissioning.
Tricia explains that the life of a defence asset like an aircraft or ship, can be 30 years, where there may be a mid-life upgrade and finally the asset may be decommissioned or replaced by an upgraded system. That is a total lifecycle of potentially 30-40 years and perhaps longer. Since the project lifecycle is so long, it would be nearly impossible to see all of these aspects of a project lifecycle within a 2-year period and that is where the true value of the rotation program is, as different projects are at different points in the lifecycle.
Tricia describes the value of the program:
“It boils down to – you don’t know, what you don’t know. The rotations have allowed me to build a good foundation of practical knowledge to build from to reduce “what I don’t know”
The rotations also empower graduates to explore technologies in different domains and this allowed Tricia to narrow what she wanted to work on and ultimately what area of the business she wanted to work in after the graduate program had finished. Exploring a Landing Helicopter Dock and watching fast jets performing training manoeuvres from an Air Traffic Control Tower are just some of her highlights on the graduate program. “It was amazing to see the sheer scale of some of the things we work on…The view was amazing” says Tricia.
Tricia is one of a small number of employees who have remained on site, with additional safety measures in place, to keep delivering to help keep Australia safe. With such diverse experiences behind her, we can’t wait to see what she does next.
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