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Engineering a working family

Published on Thursday, 29 Sep 2011
John Mak is one of 100 lucky fresh graduates to be welcomed into the AECOM community.
Photo: AECOM
Kelly Tso

It’s not a given that every young graduate sets out on a career they are excited about, while getting the right support for their work experience, career development and so forth.

Engineer graduate John Mak, who works in the transportation section of engineering giant AECOM, loves his job and knows he is lucky.

"Imagine a world without engineers – no railways, no bridges, no water pipes. It’s unimaginable! Engineering improves people’s lives. I like my profession because we, at AECOM, create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments,” he says.

Not counting recent graduates, AECOM hires some 100 graduates a year for their several business lines, to supplement its approximately 3,000 employees in Hong Kong.

They put their graduates through the comprehensive Hong Kong Institution of Engineering Scheme A training programme, and this allows the budding engineers to earn the professional chartered engineer title within three years. AECOM helps with training courses and regular guidance from experienced supervisors.

Newly hired graduate engineers are also assigned with buddies who are experienced colleagues, but different from their supervisors. The buddy system aims to help them settle quickly and comfortably in their teams and in the company.

“I’m glad to be in a team of talented and energetic professionals. We’re not just colleagues but a big family. We know one another well and enjoy leisure time together. The team
spirit is impressive,” says Mak.

In spite of the sluggish economic conditions, job prospects are good in the field, particularly with AECOM. The design and engineering industry is experiencing a boom in Asia, boosted by a number of large infrastructure projects, says Kelly Tso, the company’s director of human resources in Hong Kong. “There are many new and exciting opportunities
for job seekers,” she adds.

AECOM, which has 45,000 employees in some 125 countries, has many business lines ideal for fresh graduates. “For example, civil engineering graduates can join our water, geotechnical or transportation business lines,” says Tso. “Each business line is subdivided into various market sectors. For example, railways, highways, aviation, ports and marine, and long-span bridges are all under transportation.

“We are a global firm, and offer our employees overseas opportunities. We may place high potential graduates on overseas assignments,” she adds.

Mak has been with AECOM for a year and is currently working in railways, under the transport business line. He has the chance to work on large-scale projects, such as the MTR’s Sha Tin to Central link.

Mak says he’s learning to be independent as he’s given a lot of room to figure out how to execute his tasks, but he still sometimes has to refer to his supervisors, peers or
workmates for advice.

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