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Engineering/Business graduate, 2000


CEED graduate, Tim Ekert - where is he now?

Back in 2000, Tim Ekert was selected by Lextar Technologies to take part in a CEED industry-based project. Tim was in his final year of a dual degree in Engineering and Business at QUT.

Fast forward to 2012, and Tim is now a General Manager at Austin Engineering, which services the mining and resource sector.

During his CEED project, Tim was involved in an upgrade of the mechanical design of a Lextar product and he helped to develop a new design which would allow for easier manufacturing.


CEED graduate, Tim Ekert 
 CEED graduate, Tim Ekert - now a General Manager with Austin Engineering

At the time Tim chose to complete a CEED project to gain additional industry experience beyond what was necessary as part of his degree. He believed that doing a CEED project would help him with future job opportunities, and it did exactly that. Tim was offered full-time employment with Lextar Technologies once he completed his CEED project. He decided to finish university part-time so he could take on his new role with Lextar.

In addition to gaining employment, Tim’s CEED project gave him the chance to experience the day to day operations of a business. He recently remarked that “there is an advantage to having your first industry experience in a controlled environment, like a CEED placement, instead of in the real world”. Tim also commented that when doing a CEED project “you learn how industry works much quicker than if you wait until after you graduate”.

Tim says that he was ‘very lucky’ during his project because he had a really good mentor who taught him a “huge amount of technical engineering as well as an understanding of the general management of customers and sales”.

In September 2006, Tim began working for Austin Engineering.  However, before then, he worked in a few different engineering and sales related roles in the automotive industry, heavy engineering, and structural steel industries.

Now in his role as one of the General Managers at Austin Engineering, there is no such thing as a ‘typical day’. He manages two different business units which involve a variety of tasks such as the workshop operations, planning and scheduling, and safety. Tim’s management position also means he focuses on sales and customers - which can include site visits. He also performs other management functions such as financial reporting and HR.

Tim commented that his CEED project definitely provided him with an advantage in the graduate employment market, and now as an employer himself he would look favourably upon this type of industry experience. “A CEED project and the industry experience that it brings looks good on a resume,” Tim commented.

Last year Tim took on the role as a CEED industry supervisor when he hosted a student project at Austin Engineering. Tim found the experience ‘really rewarding’ - personally and for the business.

His advice for other industry professionals considering providing a project is that they should “treat the selection process for a CEED student as you would any other recruitment, because students can be a valuable asset to the business during their time on the project”.  Tim continued, “also, from a business perspective, CEED projects are very good value for money because the students complete important, fully developed projects”.

For future CEED students, Tim recommends they get as much exposure as possible to the business they do their project in. “A CEED project is a good opportunity to work in a business and gain additional skills” and Tim believes you should “make the most of the time you are working in the company”.

“I’ve been involved twice, on both sides of the fence, and I can say that it’s a really good scheme. It worked out really well for me personally and I would definitely recommend it.”


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