At 22, Georgia Kelly has a USC Honours degree in Civil Engineering and a plum role working on a new 40-hectare island precinct on the Sunshine Coast.
The Tewantin woman, who is in the first generation of her family to graduate from university, is one of a succession of USC students and graduates offered career pathways in recent years by Hall Contracting, Australia’s largest privately-owned dredging, civil and marine construction company.
“I’m on site every day at the Pelican Waters subdivision, helping manage the quality, budget, program and safety of the project,” she said.
“We’re doing earthworks, underground services, retaining walls and roads. There’s a bridge coming up, a lock and weir too. I’m enjoying it.”
The Yiman/Gubbi Gubbi woman, who officially graduated at USC’s April 2019 ceremony, gained a job at Hall in 2018 while she was researching alternative airport pavements for her Honours thesis.
Earlier in her degree, she gained work at global environmental solutions provider Veolia, contributing to a water quality management project in Brisbane.
Ms Kelly attributed her success to persistence, hard work, networking and the support of friends she made in her USC lectures. Her favourite classes were soil mechanics and design of roads and drainage.
“I came straight out of high school (Sunshine Beach State High School) into a Paramedic Science degree at USC but after one semester I realised that wasn’t me and I took six months off,” she said.
“I was working at a pharmacy and it was actually my boss who suggested engineering because I was technically-minded. I did some research and decided to study it.”
A highlight of her degree was spending two weeks in Laos on a New Colombo Plan mobility scholarship, helping the Free the Bears Fund to construct a new sanctuary.
Hall Contracting CEO Cameron Hall said the company had a long history of providing career opportunities for Sunshine Coast tertiary students, having employed more than 20 USC graduates over the past decade.
“With so many talented young people living locally, we are proud to offer career pathways that enable graduates to remain in the region and further develop their skills,” Mr Hall said.
“We place a strong focus on supporting future generations and, as such, we offer scholarships to USC Engineering students and have funded a number of university research projects.”