We know that greater diversity leads to greater innovation and outcomes and we’re focused on supporting and growing that diversity across our organisation, for the benefit of all.
This includes supporting new people in our industry and – importantly – showing that there are attractive career pathways for people who aspire to work in those industries.
Meet Junieta Sequeira, a graduate electrical engineer who recently joined AGL to pursue her passion for problem solving and innovation.
Junieta is among a number of graduates completing rotational programs across AGL’s sites. For Junieta, her decision to study engineering at university was an easy one; however, it wasn’t without some important considerations – namely choosing a career that is significantly under-represented by women.
According to Engineers Australia, women represent around 11.2% of engineering professionals in Australia, and enrolments to engineering in university have been falling for some years now – with only 16.8% of engineering students in 2017 being women.
In recognition of the recent, International Women in Engineering Day, and AGL’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and our value of being Better together, Junieta shared her story, and why she believes it’s important that we continue to celebrate the achievements of female engineers – especially within the energy industry.
I grew up in Goa, a state located on the southwestern coast of the Indian peninsula. My father is an electrical proprietor and my mother is an industries inspector, and I have learnt a lot from them over the years. They have motivated and guided me from a very young age, and they have always encouraged me to do something that would make me happy.
When I started doing well in school, I decided to follow in my father’s footsteps. Most of my family members were in business and accounting, but I chose to do something I would enjoy.
After finishing school, I completed a Bachelor in Electronics and Telecommunications in Goa, and soon after I started working at Schneider Electric in quality assurance and supply chain procurement roles. Then in 2015, I moved to Melbourne, Australia, to complete my Masters in Electronics and Electrical Engineering at Swinburne University.
Australia was a whole new world, and I found there was a greater focus on practical application here, which I loved. Many of my projects focussed on robotics, and every day I felt so inspired – knowing that we would always be coming up with new ideas, creating something innovative from scratch.
I’m now a graduate electrical engineer for AGL at Loy Yang Power Station A in the High Voltage section. This has been a great opportunity to apply my skills and knowledge within the Australian energy sector, and I’m really looking forward to my other rotations at Torrens, Macquarie, and Melbourne.
Engineering has always been a fairly male-dominated field, but I’ve noticed more women than I expected working in operational roles at AGL. This is great, as it offers more team members the opportunity to network and learn from these women, and they, in turn, can contribute towards greater female empowerment within engineering more broadly.
Always remember to be yourself, love yourself, and continue to step outside your comfort zone. You can do anything if you set your mind to it.
Supporting women in engineering
According to Engineers Australia, focusing on graduate entry level is essential to address diversity. But as Michael Chalak, Plant Maintenance Superintendent at Loy Yang, notes, days like International Women in Engineering Day offer a great reminder for us to continue to invest not only in graduates, but also in other forms of partnerships and educational programs for young women.
’International Women in Engineering Day demonstrates that awareness around the importance of gender balance in this field is growing,’ Michael said.
’Aligned with our value of being Better together, we know that achieving greater gender balance is critical to our business success, because increasing the number of women changes the culture and relationships between our teams – balancing out our traditionally male-dominated engineering environment.’
Junieta is focused on the big picture, despite the barriers she has faced through her education and career.
‘I’ve always believed engineering plays a key role in developing some of the most impactful solutions to the world’s problems, like renewable energy,’ she said.
‘These solutions affect all of our lives, and I have always hoped to one day contribute to developing them in some way.’