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Student story

William Borrie

20 July 2023

"I really enjoy learning about the incredible businesses and products throughout NZ’s primary industries..."


Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Civil Engineering

Structural Engineer, Connor Consulting Ltd

What kind of work do you do in an engineering consulting company?

We work with clients from concept planning, through to design, consenting, and construction management. Projects come in a lot of different forms; larger new builds, extensions, and smaller maintenance or trouble shooting jobs to optimise a facility. Connor Consulting is a structural engineering firm with a large skew towards cold storage, food processing facilities, and industrial plants.   

This year I’ve been based on site, project managing a large multi-disciplinary upgrade to a meat processing plant. I get to interact with the entire project team and the client and their employees on a daily basis. This has been a great opportunity to develop my management and communication skills.

Sounds like you get to be involved in some major projects – what’s your favourite part of the job? 

I really enjoy learning about the incredible businesses and products throughout NZ’s primary industries. During my time based on site this year, I’ve had more exposure to our client’s commercial decisions and constraints. This has added a lot more context to the work we do.

Also there’s no stereotypical engineer, we’re a fairly diverse species. Learning about different people’s cultures and interests makes work more fun. Try convincing someone in the middle of Ramadan they’ve used the wrong earthquake coefficient!

How did you first decide to do an Engineering degree?

A love of science at school was the initial motivation, but really had no idea what I was getting into.

Once you sit down to your first ENGR101 lecture though, you instantly feel “part” of something and definitely motivates you to go the distance.

What was it that made you feel that way?

Studying at UC had a great mix of independent and collaborative work. That’s prepared me well to be comfortable in different work environments, whether that’s thinking on your feet with a tricky situation on site or a collaborative design process with a team of other consultants. A large part of our job is engaging with our clients to understand their operation and processes. A good engineering solution can come down to knowing what questions to ask. 

So what’s the best bit of advice you can give other future engineers at UC?

Strap in. Engineering can be hard to get the hang of. But the satisfaction when seeing your solution making a real life difference is worth it.

During the early years, I think it’s important to remember to develop at your own pace. Compare but don’t judge your experience too much against peers or classmates at other firms. Reflect a lot on your projects and what you’ve learnt from them. There’s no right or wrong path so just focus on your own growth. Engage with the industry groups; go along to events and courses. You’ll definitely learn something and it provides great reassurance talking to others from around the profession.



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