Work & Grow – Interview with Loubser Steyn, Engineering Surveyor at WestConnex
Over the past ten years, ConsultANZ has placed many overseas-qualified civil engineering and surveying professionals in various jobs across Australia and New Zealand. Many of them have come over from South Africa. Today, as part of our brand new campaign Work & Grow, we are chatting with Loubser Steyn, who came over to Australia on a 476 Graduate Visa and whom we placed with Surex Surveyors. Loubser talk about his experience of moving Down Under, choosing civil engineering as a career path and growing through his current role as an Engineering Surveyor.
Where did your career start and what is your journey to date?
I completed my Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) degree at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape Province of South Africa in 2018. After graduation, I took some time off to travel and work a snow season in the US as a ski instructor. From Los Angeles, I found cheap airfare to Brisbane, and so my Australian adventure started. In Brisbane, I went to the offices of ConsultANZ to discuss the current opportunities available within Australia.
Why did you choose civil engineering as a career?
From a very young age, I’ve been fascinated with large construction and road works projects and how they were constructed. I loved building roads and bridges in the sandpit, and as I got older, I realized that it is time to build something more permanent, so I went to study Civil Engineering.
What’s the favourite part of your job?
Being part of a team that is creating something that will solve a problem and improve people’s lives for many more years to come. I think it would be amazing to one day show my kids a tunnel or highway and be able to tell them I was part of the team that built it.
How has the work you have done with Surex helped your professional and personal growth?
Surex is a great company to work for as you can have a personal relationship with most of your colleagues and management. By working together as a team, we can solve complex problems and execute our duties with precision. From a professional point of view, working on the largest infrastructure projects in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere is an amazing opportunity and a great experience.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Personally, it was moving to Australia with a backpack and not knowing anyone on the East Coast when I got here. And now I’m ready to call Australia home. In my career, it is the sheer scale of the projects I’m involved in. I would never have imagined that I would someday be working on projects of this scale back in Africa.
What are some of your long-term goals?
A big long-term goal for me would be to own property in Australia.
How did working with ConsultANZ Recruitment assist you in getting where you are today?
When I came to Australia, I knew no one and therefore had no connection to the Aussie construction industry. ConsultANZ was that connection for me and enabled me to get my foot in the door of the construction industry.
If you could impart any wisdom/knowledge to other graduates and young professionals to help them grow within the industry, what would it be?
Do not be scared to take on a job in an industry that is not necessarily what you studied at university. There is so much to learn in the construction industry, and the most important step for you as a graduate is to get your foot in the door.
What civil infrastructure projects have you worked on to date and what has been your biggest learning from these projects?
Sydney Metro and Westconnex. Both are tunnelling projects. I never imagined myself working underground, especially on projects of this scale. There are no projects like these in South Africa.
Why did you decide to move to Australia?
The lifestyle and weather are very similar to South Africa, and I would do all my hobbies here, like surfing and diving. Australia has plenty more job opportunities than South Africa and is a lot safer.
What were your first impressions when you first arrived in Australia?
Public infrastructure is very well maintained and clean. People are friendly and welcoming to foreigners that are willing to adapt to Australian culture and values.
What was the biggest cultural difference you have noticed since moving to Australia?
Australian gas BBQs! In South Africa, we Braai (BBQ) on fire and coal.
What was the biggest challenge around the move to Australia?
Being far away from friends and family.
What advice would you offer to other Civil Engineers/Surveyors/Construction Professionals considering migrating to Australia?
If you are comfortable working in English and getting a visa for Australia, you should come over and give it a go. In Australia, you will find people from all over the world that chose to work and live here as there are better opportunities for them here than back home. And for me, that alone says a lot about Australia.
If you are interested in working as a Surveyor in Australia, we would like to hear from you! Register your CV on our website or get in touch with our friendly Recruiters on LinkedIn.
Finding an Australian employer to sponsor you can be very difficult so we recommend obtaining a visa that gives you full working rights.
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