Toby on Structural Engineering

Wergaia Land (Woomelang, Victoria)
Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours) at Deakin Geelong.
Structural Engineer

Toby’s Journey

High School

I went to high school in rural Victoria. I went to Hopetoun P-12 College and then finished my final year as a boarder at Ballarat & Clarendon College. Like most of my school mates, I always found myself excited and passionate about sports and athletics. I also found myself developing a passion for maths and problem solving.

As I entered my VCE years, my teachers in Hopetoun noticed my interest in maths. As a result of their support, I was put into classes above my standard year level. Approaching Year 12, I found myself looking to study Specialist Maths, which was only available via distance education and video conferencing.

This led to a massive change whereby I was fortunate enough to attend boarding school at Ballarat & Clarendon College to finish my VCE and to have an in-person experience with Specialist Maths. Adapting to Ballarat and a new school was extremely trying, but it definitely helped shape me and helped me realise that I wanted to study Engineering after school.

Deakin Geelong

After High School, I kept moving south to Deakin University in Geelong. This move wasn’t about going to the most prestigious Uni or the one with the highest ATAR requirement. It was a move for the lifestyle I knew Geelong could provide. It seemed like a natural progression from Ballarat with Geelong feeling more like a big country town than a city. 

I lived on campus for the first two years, which was one of the best decisions I’ve made. The friendships I made with the students I lived and studied with are ones that will last a lifetime. For anyone looking to go to university, I couldn’t recommend enough that you look into living on campus. 

Over each summer, I loved going back home to Hopetoun and working on the family farm for the harvest season. I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work and save money over summer. I did also work some odd jobs in Geelong throughout the study year, mainly doing labour for different businesses. But the summer work enabled me to focus during the year on study, rather than juggling various part time jobs with university. 

Working as an Engineer

Following university, I didn’t have too many plans or the burning desire to jump right into the nine-to-five life. I originally planned on having a gap year to travel. This was prior to seeing a Structural Engineering job pop up in Geelong. 

It wasn’t specifically a graduate position but I threw my hat in the ring anyway to see what might happen. I got the job, and I’ve been working as a Structural Engineer for Cardno – a global infrastructure, environmental and social development company. The job has allowed me to experience and contribute to an array of structures and projects.

Reflecting on my Pathway

Reflecting on the choices I’ve made along the way, I realise that my passions for maths and problem solving have been the underlying connection between my schooling, tertiary education, and work life. 

I believe that an engineering degree is, at its core, a degree in problem solving. A rural / farming background always throws you at problems to solve, and those experiences were a massive part of why I chose my particular career path. Growing up in a rural town taught me many lessons, like working with what’s available to you, the importance of thinking outside of the box, and just giving things a “crack”.

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