Engineers Australia graduate member Adele Faraone is an Environmental Consultant at EcOz Environmental Consultants in Darwin. The environmental engineer moved from Victoria to the Northern Territory, and is relishing the opportunities this career move presents.
Read about the decisions that led her to this job, and the advice she would give to someone looking for their first roles out of university.
What was your path to your current role as an environmental consultant?
I didn’t originally start working in the environmental field after graduating university. Whilst in my first job, I did dabble a bit in environmental work (stormwater management and wetland designing), I realised if I was going to take full advantage of putting into practice what I had learnt and challenge myself as a professional, I needed to make a change. After a holiday up in the NT visiting some family, I fell in love with the laid back nature and uniqueness of Darwin, which then got me looking into potential environmental based jobs here. Two years on, I’m still here!
Moving for work is quite common in the field of engineering. What influenced your decision and what made the transition to Darwin easier?
There’s a saying up in the NT that sometimes people move up here for a supposed short period of time and next thing you know, it's been 20 years. Whilst that’s not exactly the case (just yet), what initially drew me up here was just how beautiful parts of the Territory were. The fact that people could work up here and explore some of the most remote, untouched parts of Australia got me really excited.
The somewhat transient nature of Darwin, I think also helped with that transition up here as well. Two days after moving up here, I was introduced to a now good friend of mine, who basically ‘'kidnapped me for the morning as we ventured out and got multiple coffees around Darwin (emphasis on multiple). She, herself an engineer, had moved up a few years before and understood exactly what it was like being that new person in a small town, where people mostly work FIFO (fly-in, fly-out) and not knowing anyone.
After that mega-caffeine hit of a morning, I was also introduced to the team in the Northern Division of Engineers Australia, who have now become part of my Darwin family. In general, I think most people understand what it’s like to move from a big city and feel lost coming to such a small town like Darwin. As such, you develop some strong connections with people, almost becoming family, whether that’s work colleagues, professional institutions like Engineers Australia, sporting groups or even your local barista.
I’ve become a big believer that travelling and moving for work—whilst it can be extremely challenging being away from friends and family (particularly during a global pandemic)—can also be one of the most rewarding experiences. I never anticipated that some of the people I met in my first week up here would influence my decision to stay. It may actually be 20 years before I realise how long I’ve been here for.
What was your first role out of university?
My first project was a stormwater management plan for a new development that was happening somewhere in Melbourne's east. It was basically from start to finish how you put together one of those plans for a planning permit. I've done hundreds of them now but at the time it was a really big deal.
What motivated you to further your education and begin a Masters degree?
I’ve always loved learning and have thoroughly enjoyed the work I have been doing in the NT, so a Masters in Environmental Management seemed like a good pathway to take.
What would you tell someone in their first year out of university as an engineer?
My advice would be to take advantage of all the experiences presented to you and ask as many questions as you can. Curiosity can lead you in directions you may have never thought possible. You never know, you may end up somewhere and it's been 20 years and you didn’t even realise!