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Student story

Angus Rowland

20 July 2023

"My degree didn’t teach me what to think, it taught me how to think..."


Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Chemical and Process Engineering

Process Project Manager (Powders), Fonterra, Lichfield

After graduating his Chemical and Process Engineering degree at UC, Angus was quick to land a graduate role with Fonterra, one of New Zealand's leading dairy manufacturers. Now with a lot more experience in the industry, Angus currently works as the Process Project Manager at the new Lichfield Whole Milk Powder Plant.

"I get to work with a highly motivated team who are aligned to the same goal as me, and we get to work in a safe environment. I also get to work on building and managing operation of the largest powder plant in the world. I know the work I do now on setting up our plant and leading my team through the first season of operation will be a legacy I leave that I can be proud of," he says.

Angus' role in particular involves managing one of the teams at the plant, including ensuring equipment and systems are in place as the Systems Integration Lead, worker performance and recruitment, and plant commissioning.

"I really enjoy the process and operations management aspects of my role at Fonterra, and would like to continue down that path into more senior roles," he says. "I will also be looking for an opportunity to work in this space in an overseas operation."

His journey started with a simple interest in how things work, which led him to study a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours at UC.

"After completing the Intermediate Year of Engineering, I decided that Chemical and Process Engineering was the path I wanted to go down. I found all of the Chemical and Process industries very exciting, and the process of adding value to a product was very interesting to me."

It was UC's focus on engineering, both academically and socially, that made his university experience worthwhile.

"I believed that UC was the best engineering school in New Zealand and I had heard a lot of positive things about the culture and student lifestyle at the university – so it was a no brainer!

"Outside of the academic space, UC has a club culture which doesn't exist anywhere else in New Zealand. This makes it simple to meet like-minded people and try new things! Being involved with events from clubs like ENSOC was a highlight of my time at University."

It was thanks to the skills he picked up from study that Angus says has helped his success at Fonterra.

"In a typical graduate engineer role, 90% of what you need to know will be learned on the job. My degree didn't teach me what to think, it taught me how to think. This is one of the most valuable abilities for a new engineer and an engineering degree from UC definitely sets you up for success."

Outside of work, Angus spends most of his time in the outdoors taking on tramping, mountain biking and snowboarding, and his newest passion for multisport racing. He also makes the most of his opportunity to travel overseas when he can, saying he is "lucky enough to have a job which allows me to do this".

For future engineers, Angus advises to get involved wherever possible to get as much experience as you can and stand out from other graduates.

"Look for opportunities to further your leadership and range of experience, whether it is through clubs, sports or volunteering. These are all things I look for when hiring a new team member. Equally, try and get work experience over your summers in different areas of industry – this will mean you can make a more informed decision about where you go to work after you finish your degree."

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