The recent Innovation Expo was a chance for students across the College to draw together on all their experiences to deliver a major project that tested them in many ways. For Brad Searle Undergraduate Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Honours), the project (Repurposing of Covid-19 Waste PPE for Clay Soil Reinforcement) also represented the culmination of a much larger journey.
At age 22, Brad was working as a welder, but didn’t find himself challenged or fulfilled. “I knew I could do and be more. No one thought it was a good idea for me to quit my job and study.”
After speaking with friends, one of whom was already in the Engineering Bridge Pathway Program, Brad decided he would take up the challenge himself. He completed the program at night school, got accepted into Engineering, then began his studies part time.
It was big move that came with some challenges. “(I) Had not completed high level mathematics in high school, or any physics. I went to a trade school in year 11 and 12 so the level of learning was a big step up into highly technical areas.”
While there were challenges, Brad credits his experience as a welder and his alternate pathway to engineering as providing some of the tools to tackle them. “(I had) Much more drive and sense to achieve knowing the real-life consequences of failing (money, time wasting). The bridging course taught us how to study and how to deal with the pressures of university level studies.
“Being a little more mature allowed me to have greater confidence in communication with lectures and other students, while also seeing the real-life application of the studies.”
The ability to draw on those skills, as well as those crafted throughout his degree all contributed to his Innovation Expo project and his current career pathway. Brad’s transformation from welder to civil design engineer in a tier on business is one he looks back on with pride.
“Amazing, I dreamed of the day I completed this, and I am so grateful for it all. I’m very proud of myself, and extremely grateful I made the jump to drop my life and study.”