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Alumni Experiences – Christine

Christine is a Participant in our John Holland Pathway Program. Here’s a snapshot of her experience.

Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Environmental Technology, University of Rwanda, Diploma in Hydraulic Engineering in River Basins, Egypt, Masters of Integrated Water Management, University of Queensland | Junior Engineer John Holland

A passion for infrastructure projects

Christine arrived in Australia in 2015 with multiple qualifications and ten years’ experience working on large infrastructure projects. Originally from Rwanda, Christine had worked for the Rwandan Transport Development Agency, a government agency in charge of the development and maintenance of transport infrastructure in the country. Her role was to manage and plan the design of road projects. Given her work history and her qualifications, Christine had been “very optimistic to get a job in the first months of arriving in Australia”.

A series of setbacks

“I thought that completing my further studies here would give me a higher chance of finding work here, but I was shocked to always be told that I had to have local experience and that my overseas experience didn’t count”.

Christine didn’t give up. She reached out to a number of local companies in Brisbane and offered to work in a voluntary capacity, but was still knocked back. After three years of job-hunting, Christine heard about the John Holland Pathway Program through a friend and applied.

Engineering success

Christine was successful and joined as a Junior Engineer in Rail Services at John Holland and has been responsible for managing project activities, risk management, supervision of works on site and working with subcontractors and clients, as well as ensuring safety, quality and environmental factors are at the forefront of her mind.

“Safety is of paramount importance here in Australia and I’ve really benefited from the additional training provided by John Holland and enjoyed getting my Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety which is another string to add to my bow”.

Another highlight of the program for Christine has been the training provided by Jesuit Social Services. “It was a real eye-opener to have open conversations about the Australian workplace culture – ways of thinking, behaving, and sharing how these compare to my prior experiences. It really assisted me to adjust quickly and when someone asked me if I’d like to go for lunch or a coffee, I realised that didn’t mean they were going to pay like it would mean back home.”

A role model for others

“I am so grateful to be starting a new life here with my family and excited about all the opportunities that are now in front of me. More than half of the population in my home country, Rwanda live on $1.25 a day. I am now able to support my family here and also send money to Rwanda to help my extended family as well.” Christine is proud of her achievements and hopes to be a “role model for her own children as well as girls and boys in her community who now might start to think about becoming an engineer themselves.”

Christine is excited about starting the John Holland Graduate Program in 2019 which will give her opportunity to work across different divisions of the business over two years and “see where it takes me, but I know it can only be upwards from here.”

If your organisation is interested in finding out how to develop your own program, please contact info@corporatediversity.org.au or phone the Corporate Diversity Partnerships team on (03) 9421 7600.