Engineering the future

Many Pensar engineering team members have been working with us for a long time. Some since they were early graduates or still at uni. We’re proud of our staff retention and believe it speaks volumes about the Pensar work culture. We work hard to attract good people, early in their careers. We then guide, support, encourage and challenge them to do great work and pursue their personal and career goals.

Today we’ll introduce 2 amazing examples of this – 2 people who joined Pensar on a part-time basis while studying engineering; who continued to work with us as they completed their degree and graduated in 2022; and who are now working with us full-time, building skills and forging careers.

Duncan Murrell graduated with honours from QUT’s Bachelor of Urban Development, majoring in Construction Management and Applied Economics and Finance. Today, Duncan is a Site Engineer with Pensar Structures. But perhaps most impressive was his brilliant networking at getting an intro to Pensar!

I’ve always enjoyed using my hands and my head. I wanted to do a trade. I liked carpentry. I did alright at school. I found construction management and thought it could be the best of both worlds. In second year uni, I was keen to get a part-time job. I thought getting a job in the industry would help me build experience and contacts.

There’s a bit of a funny story to how I found Pensar. I discovered my grandmother was good friends with a woman whose son just happened to head up Pensar Structures. So it was pretty easy to get a number for Tim Down and give him a call! We had a good chat and after a little while a position came up and I started working part-time.

It would get a bit hectic towards the end of semester but I got through. Pensar was very flexible with my uni commitments. It certainly developed my time management skills. I had multiple commitments and limited time, so I had to learn how to be efficient.

Working in the industry while I was studying helped both my studies and my work. I had a better understanding of the process. I could get a bit of a headstart in a new subject at uni because I’d experienced it at Pensar.

And what I was learning at uni gave me a good foundation for work – I understood the terminology and knew my way around. In my final year thesis, I investigated project forecasting and how to improve financial accuracy. That directly tied in with what I was doing at Pensar.

I worked full-time on holidays and the position became permanent when I graduated. I was always very keen to stay on. It’s a nice place to work, good environment and good people. My managers take the time to explain things and build your understanding. They’ve given me a lot of opportunity and support.

Before I started working at Pensar, I was nervous about what I’d actually be doing. I really had no idea what it was all about or how things worked! But I got to experience every part of the process – from project inception to completion, dealing with clients and subcontractors. I’ve done a lot already even though I’ve only just graduated.

Michael Murphy joined Pensar part-time as an undergraduate engineer in July 2020. He graduated from UQ’s Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering in 2022 and is now working full-time with Pensar Water as a Project Engineer. He even managed to fit in a newborn in the process!

I have a trade background. I worked for 5 years as a sparky with Ergon. I decided to go into civil engineering. I had a couple of undergraduate engineer jobs, but I didn’t like working at a computer all day. A friend started working at Pensar and said it was really good. I said, ‘Sounds great, can you help me get a job there?’ And she did!

Pensar put me on as an undergraduate engineer, and then after a few months, moved me up to site engineer. Then a year later, as I was finishing uni, they made me project engineer. They recognised my prior experience, were happy with my performance and gave me the opportunity to advance.

Uni was hard work. There were lots of late nights. Pensar was happy to work around my uni commitments. Whenever I needed to take time out for study, they were always very accommodating.

I think it was very beneficial for my studies to have a practical application and experience working. And I think I learnt as much at work as uni – particularly in how to negotiate a construction project and deal with all the different stakeholders. Being a tradesperson myself helps me appreciate the perspective of the guys in the field.

Uni was a huge plus in helping me understand how things work and how to communicate with the wide range of people that you need to. While I may not directly use all the design stuff I learnt, it’s valuable having that foundation.

I didn’t particularly want to go into design. I think working around the construction management side of things suits me more. Pensar helped me realise that. They supported me in my studies and gave me the opportunity to find my place. And I have a newborn! Pensar arranged for me to have six weeks off for family and uni. No question, no problem.

Pensar has a strong culture for growth and development. It’s great to receive such solid support and constructive feedback. Today, I’m working on stuff I’ve never worked on before. Some pretty niche methodology. It’s interesting work with a lot of responsibility.

I’m keen to keep building on the knowledge and experience I’ve gained. I see good skills development and career progression opportunities with Pensar. There’s not much more I could ask for. Pensar is doing a really good work and I’m happy to be working here.


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