It all started with a Bachelor of Engineering at The University of Queensland. With a focus on chemical and environmental engineering, Sophie knew that she wanted a career with real impact. When she graduated in 2021, she quickly jumped into the water industry.
She joined the graduate program at Aurecon – a design, engineering and advisory company creating a better future for people and planet.
“I like to think that I gained a degree in problem solving and that’s what working in water is all about. Water safety, scarcity and security are all interesting areas with real world problems that I can help solve.”
It wasn’t long before Sophie was offered a secondment at Urban Utilities. The move from a consultancy to a water utility gave her the opportunity to expand her skillset and gain a wider perspective of the industry.
“It was exciting because I had the chance to work as an Engineer across both organisations and solve different problems in different ways.”
With secondments like these common across the sector, Sophie believes the skills you develop in a water career can take you anywhere.
“Water is everywhere which means our careers are quite resilient in that way. Because we learn to look at systems as part of the whole water cycle, the knowledge and skills we gain are easily transferrable to so many different roles across the industry.”
Taking her skills to Tasmania
After working with different teams and tackling challenging projects, Sophie felt inspired to start a new career adventure and move across the country.
“It was a dream of mine to work in Tasmania. I’d been there for a holiday and fell in love with the natural beauty and lifestyle on offer. When the opportunity to work at TasWater came up, I knew I had to take it.”
As a water utility that serves the whole state, it was a chance for Sophie to make a meaningful impact on communities across Tasmania.
“I’m given space to learn and encouraged to experiment with a supportive team around me.’’
“I’ve gained the skills to solve problems myself. For example, I’m designing a solution to fix a water treatment plant that will directly improve the water quality for a local town. It looks like the plan is about to be implemented and it’s so rewarding knowing that I’ve been able to do that.”
Leaders by nature
What makes the water sector stand out against other industries? Sophie says it’s the people that make the difference.
“Everyone here is passionate about sustainability and cares about the community they live in. We’re ambitious and excited about what we can achieve collectively and want to create real change for the next generation.”
As the challenge of climate change continues to drive innovation and collaboration in the sector, Sophie’s playing a role in the decisions that will directly impact her future.
“I am part of the next generation and I want to achieve a lot of good in the world. As plans are put in place to achieve sustainability commitments, it is my role to figure out how we execute and deliver on them.”
Purpose driven by people
Sophie says that if you’re passionate about the environment, you’ll find your people here. “It’s an exciting place to be, especially with all the utilities collaborating and having a unified purpose. From big cities to rural communities, you’re improving the way people live which is very rewarding.”