Haura Hussaini is a control systems engineer passionate about the future of the Australian energy sector, as well as encouraging more females to follow STEM pathways.
Tell us about your role working as a graduate control systems engineer?
As control systems engineer I enjoy the highly technical nature of the role, managing complex system interactions and requirements that ensure the overall system functions safely and effectually. Control engineering is quite a unique discipline where the roles and responsibilities can vary considerably.
In my current role I have been working on a major control system upgrade project. An exciting project for the design phase through testing, installation to site commissioning and currently closeout. Working for a system integrator company I have the opportunity to work across multiple industries and project with varying scales of intricacy.
You continued your studies with a Masters of Professional Engineering. What were the benefits of doing this course and how did you combine that with work?
I was exposed to various aspects of electrical systems during my work as a control systems engineer. Technically, control engineering falls under the broader umbrella of electrical engineering. I was curious about the practical application of electrical control systems. I choose to study a Masters degree to extend my knowledge and understanding in both engineering disciplines. Depending on the industry and organisation I&C, EIC, E&C, electrical, control and instrument titles can be interchangeable and having all three is certainly a great advantage with potential to accelerate career prospects and opportunities
Most postgraduate degrees require a great deal of autonomy so the ability to self-motivate and time management are crucial skills. I had the curiosity and as a motivator just had to make the time. Workplace flexibility and online studying was a key success enabler!
You're involved in the WA Oil and Gas group. What are your thoughts on the future of oil and gas in Western Australia and nationally?
The WA Oil and Gas group is actually called the Hydrocarbon Transition Energy Group. Anyone currently in the energy industry would agree that it's the beginning of an exciting new era in the energy industry. While we're seeing global rapid changes towards transitioning energy production to lower emission alternatives, there is also a massive opportunity to redefine our thinking to innovate new ways of dealing with the uncertainties that challenge the future of the Australian energy sector in the competitive global landscape. For Western Australia, enabling the transition to lower-emission energy comes with the challenge of maintaining economic stability.
Why are you passionate about encouraging students to undertake STEM subjects, and motivating more females to enter the field of engineering?
My first full time engineering role was a FIFO role, I was the only female engineer in the team. This drove me to look into the gender disparity challenges in the industry. One particular challenge is the lack of exposure and awareness of STEM career pathways at schools; that's when I started to be actively involved in initiatives that tackle the gender diversity gap by educating young women about the importance of STEM. I partake in high school outreach programs and young professional organisations with the aim to inspire the next generation of engineers. I aspire to set myself as a strong example and role model for the next generation of young women in the industry. I like to think of myself as an influencer! An influence of change that is, I aim to broaden my circle of influence by continuously engaging with such initiatives and programs.
What advice would you have for those in a similar position as you, working as a graduate engineer? Have you ever received any great advice yourself during your career and studies that helped you?
Now that I have transitioned out of my graduate role, reflecting back at the past few years I have established a strong foundation both technically and professionally as an engineer. The first few years are crucial to forming foundational skill sets and building competence and credibility. I would encourage everyone to take personal responsibility of their learning, to be proactive and make the most of every opportunity.