Career and Work

Why Work Integrated Learning really works

Being an engineer involves having enough practical knowledge to solve problems in an efficient and creative manner. As engineering is all about using science to find creative practical solutions, I need to be in an environment where I can work with challenges and upskill my technical acumen. This is one of the main reasons I started Work Integrated Learning at Griffith University.

As an international student doing my postgraduate studies in Electronics and Energy Engineering, I heard about Griffith’s Community Internships during my first year. Then and there I decided to use my summer vacation to do something productive.  I took the opportunity to enrol for a community internship for Trimester 3.

I have to say that taking this opportunity wasn’t easy. I was pretty nervous. Also I was sacrificing my vacation to visit my family for the community internship! But I made up my mind to follow my passion and get started with the internship program, and what a journey it has been!

Right from choosing my internship opportunity through an easy online platform called SONIA, to getting the offer of an interview at my now workplace,  SUBSTATION 33, everything was a comfortable journey. Thanks to the excellent communication and workings of Internship placement officers, everything from interview to induction and training went smoothly. My heart is full of gratitude for the support I received from placement officers who were always in touch with me in regards to internships.

As for my internship, I was offered a position at Substation 33. They are doing the Lord’s work by helping our environment and reducing e-waste. It is a social enterprise based in the Logan suburb of Kingston and opened its doors in January 2013 as an electronic waste recycling centre, providing a workplace where volunteers and employees gain confidence and skills for the transition to sustainable employment. Its purpose is to provide training and employment opportunities through the recycling of electronic waste.

I was surprised to see projects such as Flooded Road Smart Warning Signs, Electric ‘e-bikes’, 3D printers, a vertical garden monitoring system projects made from scratch and all with the e-waste that’s obtained through donations. These projects greatly helped me in upskilling my technical acumen in areas of electronic and energy engineering.

I also got to participate in helping for the POWER WELLS project, a collaborative effort between students of UQ and Substation 33 which repurposes used lithium-ion batteries to give them a second life – diverting waste from landfill, and providing energy to the billion people without power.  The end results were that villages in Indonesia benefited from this generation of electricity.

Working for three months at Substation 33 taught me to care about the environment in a much more productive way. Also from what I see, it welcomes all races of people. There’s no personal bias as such. Everyone gathers there to lend a hand in making the environment and the community better. I can proudly say that I worked along with different kinds of people, whether it be of different religion, age or gender, and in return I received a comfortable atmosphere where I could use my engineering skills to develop projects and solutions.

For this amazing experience, I would extend my deepest gratitude to the founder of Substation 33, Tony Sharp and my supervisor Simon Schdmitke for their continued support along the way. Also to the amazing staff Kayla, Krystal, Emma  and others for helping me out and actually giving me work to do! I would also like to thank the Griffith University placement office for helping me search and enrol into the internship so smoothly.

And to all current and future students, I would definitely recommend you all enrol for the internship program offered at Griffith University. It is such a golden opportunity to not only improve your grades but also help the community and people around you! You can find more info on myGriffith, and by talking to internship officers about options. As there are tonnes of internships offered. Take a step today and register for a community internship! You won’t regret it!


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