From nuclear power to Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Industry
Mechanical Engineers can specialise in research and development, engineering design, production, operation and maintenance of machinery.
Core competencies include a knowledge of designing of mechanical tools and equipment, developing and testing prototypes, thermodynamics and materials science. A Mechanical Engineer will use these skills combined with computer aided design programs and project management experience to deliver a product or solution.
Yolanda began working as a Mechanical Engineer in 2006. Yolanda is the Deputy Transverse Design Authority for BAE Systems Australia’s shipbuilding business, ASC Shipbuilding, and has gained extensive engineering experience over the past 14 years both overseas and in Australia. Most recently Yolanda led the Mechanical Engineering team on the Air Warfare Destroyer program.
Overview of your role
I have recently taken on the role of Deputy Transverse Design Authority within the Hunter Class Frigate Program which requires that the design meets the customer’s expectations in that area.
Where do you work?
I have been working in the Osborne Naval Shipyard for the past 11 years.
How did you get to where you are today?
After high school, I decided to study engineering. My first job was in the nuclear power industry where I had the opportunity to develop in an environment in which safety was paramount and the engineering framework was very mature and rigorous. It also provided me with international experience. After that I took an opportunity to move into the naval shipbuilding industry, specifically to the AWD program, where I was responsible for managing the AWD Mechanical Engineering team. On the completion of the AWD program – the final ship set sail only recently – I was offered my current role on the Hunter program.
What do you love about your job?
I like to be challenged, to learn and do new things. I also like interacting with different stakeholders and also get the best out of the people I’m working with. My role brings me just that: the ability to develop my knowledge in new areas while fulfilling my passion to help and mentor others.
Why did you choose a career this field?
Since I was a kid, I’ve been curious about how things work and how to fix them when they stop working. I’ve always wanted to understand nature and how science and technology have contributed to the incredible achievements of humankind. Although choosing science was very obvious to me, choosing which aspect of science was not easy at all. The reason I finally chose engineering over other sciences was the wide range of career options that engineering offers.
What skills are required in your position?
My current position looks at how the ship interacts with the surrounding environment and therefore requires a good knowledge of ship system design and a good foundations on physics. It also requires excellent communication skills, emotional intelligence and negotiation skills. A good mix of everything!
Why did you decide to work within the Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise?
My first job gave me international experience, which I found very rewarding and challenging at the same time. I soon realised there were many opportunities in Australia in the Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise as the AWD program was about to enter its construction phase, so I decided to challenge myself and join the program. Eleven years later, I am still working in the Australian shipbuilding industry. Moving across to the Hunter program and into a different stage of a naval program is another great experience which I am enjoying and I am focussed on my continuous development to continue to become better at what I do.
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