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Downer Group

  • 50,000 - 100,000 employees

Christian Douglas

As a Rail Graduate, I am fortunate to be provided with the opportunity to rotate through the business every 6 months, for a period of 2 years.

What's your job about?

Downer’s Rail business is Australia’s leading provider of passenger rolling stock asset management services. As a Rail Graduate, I am fortunate to be provided with the opportunity to rotate through the business every 6 months, for a period of 2 years.

Throughout my rotations, my areas of responsibility as a Rail Graduate have been engaging with internal stakeholders to develop Downer’s predictive maintenance and data analytics platform named TrainDNA, creating internal education modules to meet compliance for the global Asset Management Standard (ISO 50001) and being seconded to the Downer Major Projects Team to work on the Asset Management and Technical Maintenance Plans for a major transport and infrastructure bid.

What's your background?

After leaving school I initially completed an Arts Degree majoring in production where I worked in the Australian event and film & TV industry. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed my time in that industry, I decided I wanted a change and a new challenge. I had consulted with family members and friends who were engineers, and their jobs and ways of working sounded like a good fit for me, so I enrolled in an engineering course and threw myself into it. I worked as an undergraduate engineer in the mining industry where I first encountered Downer as a contractor working on one of the sites. When I graduated I decided to apply to Downer’s graduate program as I had worked alongside them previously. They offered me the job and I have been doing that full-time for 11 months.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes, someone with a different background could do the basic functions of my job. However, what counts most in this job is being: adaptive as you rotate into different areas of the business, creative to solve unique problems, resilient as you confront various challenges, persistent to keep pushing forward and proactive to find opportunities for yourself and the business.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The coolest thing about my job is seeing the impact you can have on society. Downer’s Rail business assists in providing a vital and sustainable method of transport for the growing Australian population. After working hard each week seeing our trains on the network gives me immense pride and a sense that I am contributing to something larger than myself.

What are the limitations of your job?

Working in an innovation field as well as a bid in Major Projects naturally provides longer hours from time-to-time as deadlines must be met. This does require a level of commitment and discipline which needs to be maintained.

Being challenged to grow professionally and personally is not easy! It can be uncomfortable to be honest about your own limitations and to challenge yourself to grow out of them.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

#1 – Be sure to relax when you can, but give it everything you’ve got when you need to!
#2 – Don’t be afraid to fail.
#3 – Focus on problems that are big enough to matter but small enough to solve!