We caught up with Zac, a graduate process engineer in Newcastle who is currently in his third year of the Ausenco new professionals program (NPP) to learn about his experience so far, some key highlights and some advice for future graduates.

Tell us a bit about your role at Ausenco.

As a process engineer, my day-to-day varies quite a bit but typically it involves working on projects that are looking at upgrading an existing mining processing plant. This can be from increasing the plant capacity to looking at improving the grade/recovery of the circuit. We work with various commodities such as gold, copper and other base metals and I create the process deliverables for these projects which includes mass balances, process design criteria and P&IDs. I love the variety this job has as it keeps each day interesting.

Describe your experience in the new professionals program, how are you finding it?

The new professionals program (NPP) has been really great. The new graduates are an excellent cohort to get to know as well as learn from. We regularly socialise within the office environment and meet up and work with other graduates, such as during the NPP workshop which is always enjoyable. There are various lunch and learns throughout the year which allow us to hear from different aspects of the business and see how everything works together.

What were some of the key highlights? (i.e. event attendance, mentoring, site opportunities etc.)

Each year there is a NPP workshop that involves graduates from the Australian offices in Brisbane, Perth and Newcastle to come together and listen to the leaders of the organisation as well as provide a presentation to the leaders in small groups. This is always a highlight of each year as it is great collaborating with the other grads.

Other highlights include the site opportunities that this job provides. I get to head out to various mine sites and have recently returned from Groote Eylandt, which is an island off the coast of the Northern Territory. Travelling to these places I wouldn’t typically travel to is always exciting and gets to broaden my perspective of where the engineering life can take me.

What do you want to achieve in your career?

I have some big ambitions but currently I am focusing on being a good process engineer. I believe this involves gaining both theoretical and practical experiences so whenever there is an opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone I jump at it. This way I’m learning as much as I can and further developing myself as a process engineer.

What advice would you give to prospective students looking to apply for a graduate position?

Know about the company that you want to apply for and research what they do and make sure it aligns with what you want to do (e.g. site role vs design/office). Your graduate program helps set up your career pathway and you want to ensure that you will enjoy those beginning years!

Applications for the 2025 New Professionals Program are closing soon. Apply now!

Learn more about Ausenco’s graduate program.