Practical experience helping students to kickstart careers

Wednesday 28 February, 2018

GMW's 2018 Kickstarter studentsGoulburn-Murray Water (GMW) is providing university students an opportunity to experience working at Australia’s largest rural water corporation as part of its Kickstart program.

Now in its fourth year, GMW has employed 12 students as part of its summer internship – the largest group since the program’s implementation.

The 12-week paid program involves students working in a range of GMW departments which include engineering, science, business, law and property services. The objective is to assist students in achieving practical experience and help “kick-start” their careers.

For RMIT University student Poppy Harding the program is all about “getting onsite, interacting with the community and experiencing first-hand rural and irrigation water”, she said.

“I have been fortunate enough to be placed in the construction team with the Connections Project which is something I had never considered before.

“Last summer I was involved in a vacation program for three months in the mines in Western Australia in the Technology and Innovation Team,” Poppy, 23, said.

With only six months to complete of her Melbourne-based double degree in Environmental Engineering and Environmental Science, Poppy said she would be interested to hear about future employment opportunities with GMW.

“GMW has an amazing culture and I would definitely apply for a position here, if the opportunity arose,” she said.

For fourth year Deakin University mechanical engineering student Jordan Bicknell, the program has been great to gain practical experience outside the classroom. The engineering sector at GMW has provided Jordan with exposure to a range of fields, which will help him determine which path to follow. 

Born and bred in Shepparton, Jordan said he loves coming home to visit family and friends but ideally would like to gain employment in either Geelong or Melbourne once finishing his degree.

“My dream career would be product engineering for a snowboard company,” Jordan, 23, said.

For Kyabram’s Abbey McKenzie her university days are far from over. Having just completed a three-year Undergraduate Arts Degree, Abbey is now starting a three-year Postgraduate Law Degree.

“I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do so I chose to study arts, and now I have decided to pursue a career as a lawyer,” Abbey, 21, said.


“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed gaining business experience at GMW and being exposed to the corporate world. Working in the property and planning team has introduced me to areas I hadn’t considered before and now I am thinking about the possibility of specialising in this type of law,” Abbey said.

GMW Learning and Development Coordinator Zara Milenkovic said the program is all about providing young people with an opportunity to see what is in their own backyard.

“The Kickstart program is becoming increasingly popular and this is a great way for local students to add practical experience to their resumes. It’s also great to keep skills and expertise in our local region where possible,” she said.