Home' Engineers Australia Engineering Expo : Engineers Australia Engineering Expo Contents NATAGE H010
THE AGE Saturday, March 26, 2011
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We've got lots of
different boots to fill.
With a range of opportunities in projects across Australia, you never
know what your day might bring.
At John Holland we're always excited to welcome new members
to our team, and we're looking for you to become one of the 7,500
people we have helping to build Australia.
Nothing is more important to us than our people. That's why we
give you the support to achieve more and the opportunities to
realise your ambitions.
If you are looking to make a real impact on career defining projects
with an organisation that puts you first then look no further.
For more information visit us at the Engineers Australia Expo on the
31st March 2011, or visit us at careers.johnholland.com.au
''We are talking about hot caustic
soda --- potentially lethal stuff.''
are high and hot
Looking for a job in engineering? Go to mycareer.com.au
The Bayer process, which is the first
stage in the production of
aluminium, has kept David
Swindells busy for the past 30 years,
from fresh graduate to principal
"I'm at QAL assisting with a boiler
recovery programme at their boiler
plant. QAL is one of the larger
alumina refineries in the world. The
Bayer process equipment runs at or 50
atmospheres, which is very high
pressure," Mr Swindells says.
"The temperatures go up to 250
degrees Celsius. We are talking about
hot caustic soda, potentially lethal
stuff. I have devoted a fair bit of time
to the process safety area. Personal
safety is about events that happen
quite frequently, and are normally not
of high intensity.
''Process safety, in an industrial sense,
is about events that are very low
frequency, but very high consequence.
Within QAL I had a pretty heavy role
in protective systems around things like
combustion management, to prevent
explosions in furnaces."
Growing up in a sugar cane area
around Mackay where his father
worked at a sugar processing factory,
Mr Swindells became fascinated by
heavy equipment while doing holiday
jobs. His abilities in maths and science
led him to university, and a degree in
"My first job was back at the
university, for about twelve months as
a lecturer and tutor. Then I moved to
QAL, and I've spent most of the past
30 years there," he says.
A graduate diploma in management
equipped Mr Swindells for his move
into leadership. "A lot of it comes
down to dealing with people, and
relationships, getting people aligned,
communicating effectively, following
through, and looking after the people
who work for you," he says.
"I've had a lot of satisfaction in my
career. I've also helped young
engineers develop their careers. There
are two philosophies; give them a fish
or teach them to fish. Mine is teach
them to fish, and feed them for life."
The recent financial crisis may have
put a dampener on recruitment, but
the skill shortage persists, Mr Swindells
says. "Good experienced engineers are
in short supply. The only way to get
experience is to give people work and
''Engineers Australia has a
professional development requirement,
and particularly for graduate engineers
there is a need to get structured
professional development for the first
three or four years, to give them a
blend of maintenance, operations,
design, and so on, to round them off."
Good managers earn respect, and
sometimes more. "I received a Bravo
award from the Rio Tinto Alcan group
earlier this year, on the basis of
leadership," Mr Swindells says. "I
thought I was just doing my job, but
others felt I was doing more
Leadership is partly a matter of
common sense, Mr Swindells believes.
"Keep to your morals, keep to your
ethics, be consistent, give people a
chance, look after them. You have to
earn respect. And you have to tell
them why, as well as what, to do.
''If you tell them the why, next time
they know what to do. Let them
contribute to the outcome, and then
they own it."
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