22 December 2023

ANSTO opens its doors to high-performing UOW engineering students

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Six students standing in front of a bright mural.

The first group of UOW students to work at ANSTO: L-R: Josh Weakley, Mia Lock, Ethan Mackay, Kate Kershaw, Audrey Scheu and Angus Barnes. Photo: UOW.

A chance to work at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has been an “eye-opening” experience for a group of Wollongong students.

The Lucas Heights organisation welcomed its first group of six University of Wollongong engineering cadets in a new program that gives students the opportunity to work in a world-leading research facility.

The cadetship program offers high-performing students experience in an active laboratory, giving them workplace skills to help take their next career steps after they finish their studies.

ANSTO is one of Australia’s foremost public research institutions, and is a global player in the field of nuclear science and technology.

Ethan Mackay, who is studying mechanical engineering, said the cadetship experience was “eye-opening”.

“It’s been a great way to test and consolidate my current knowledge as well as being exposed to actual real-world problems and processes,” he said.

“It’s been a great opportunity to also meet some industry leaders in their fields and gain valuable insight from them.”

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Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences Senior Professor Gursel Alici said the ANSTO cadetship program offered students an incredible opportunity to work at a world-class, nationally significant research facility while studying for their degree.

“We already have a long-standing and extensive partnership with ANSTO in nuclear physics, medical radiation physics and engineering asset management,” he said.

“This new cadetship program demonstrates our commitment to building mutually beneficial partnerships with industry and government research organisations.

“It will provide exciting opportunities for our students to be part of shaping Australia’s STEM and security future.

“We have a successful history of offering opportunities to earn while learning to our students with various industries and companies, for example the cadetship programs with Bluescope Steel, Snowy Hydro, Wollongong City Council, and a recent program in cybersecurity with Deloitte and TAFE NSW to better prepare our students for life and employability.”

Kate Kershaw, a civil engineering student, said the cadetship helped her to apply her classroom learning.

“I have started to experience aspects of my university content coming up in projects that I am participating in at ANSTO, which puts what we are learning at university into perspective and reminds me of the bigger picture and end goal,” she said.

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ANSTO General Manager for People, Performance and Capability Venessa Barrins said the partnership with UOW was an invaluable opportunity to invest in the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers and shape Australia’s nuclear workforce of the future.

“We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have such a high calibre of students who, in the first semester, have hit the ground running and delivered outstanding results and achievements,” she said.

The cadets encouraged other UOW students to apply for the program in future years.

Mia Lock, a first-year mechatronics engineering student, said the experience was invaluable.

“At ANSTO as cadets we complete rotations through different projects and roles. The exposure helps us learn new skills, meet and learn from different engineers and lets us develop our own interests and strengths within the world of engineering.”

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