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Young scholar succeeds at Council

The chance to gain $5000 a year towards student fees and secure two years of full time work is being offered to Whangarei students studying Civil Engineering, Information Technology, Planning and Library Studies.
Updated: 21/06/2014 7:07 a.m.
Image of Tertiary Scholarships student.

 Infrastructure and Services
Intermediate Engineer,
Rachael Mannion

​The Whangarei District Council scholarship programme is a win-win for successful students and Council.

“It enables us to help to create skilled employees in fields where there is a demand in our line of work. Successful applicants also get to do their learning on the job during the holidays, and they also get a secure start to the first two years of their professional lives,” said WDC Human Resources Manager, Jenny Antunovich.

“The scheme was established in 2005 to remedy professional skill shortages and as part of  Council's commitment to further education for local people for the benefit of the community.”

Infrastructure and Services Intermediate Engineer, Rachael Mannion, has been with Council since she graduated in 2011 and agreed to answer a few questions:

Where are you from?

Originally Omana (west of Tangihua Forest), then Maungakaramea.

What school did you go to?

Tauraroa Area School for primary and intermediate and Whangarei Girls for High School.

Where did you go to university?

Auckland University.

What did you study?

Bachelor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

How did you hear about the scholarships?

Newspaper (I think, it feels like a long time ago).

How much did you get? 

$32,000 over the four years of my study.

How did you get the scholarship?

I submitted a CV and an essay, then I was interviewed. 

What commitments did you make to WDC?

I agreed to work for Council for two years and work when I could over the holidays.

Why did you apply for the scholarship and decide to work here?

The money made university a bit easier. I meant I didn’t have to work during the term and I saw it as a good way to secure holiday work and a job in Northland when I finished my study.

What kind of engineering are you doing?

Civil, with a focus on water (wastewater, storm water and potable water).

Why did you choose a career in engineering?

I’m really not sure, but I’m glad I did.

What were some of the jobs you worked on when you came back in the summer holidays?

Laboratory work (water and wastewater testing), software modelling of the water network)  and all sorts of other bits and pieces.

What have you been working on since?

I have been working with the water and wastewater departments doing numerous tasks, worked at the laboratory, software modelling, contract and project management, asset management and spent six months at Opus where I worked on design projects.

What are the most enjoyable, surprising and challenging things about the job?

Engineering was not what I expected based on my experiences pre-university and at university.  I thoroughly enjoy problem solving and being involved with construction projects.  It’s cool being able to see something physical that you helped to create.

Would you recommend applying to Council for a scholarship?

Yes. Council has a diverse environment where you get to try your hand at a multitude of different types of engineering. I found this very helpful in deciding exactly the type of engineering I was interested in and the field I have chosen is very different to what I thought I would choose when I first left high school.



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