Sanmit - Graduate Engineer, 2020

What did you study at university?

I studied a BEngTech in Mechanical Engineering at Wellington Institute of Technology.

What motivated you to apply for the graduate programme at KiwiRail?

I’ve always been interested in vehicles since I was a kid, especially railways and during my time at engineering school I interned at a rail products company where my interest in the entire rail industry grew. I realized that there was an entirely specialised field in rail that not many people think about. When I found out that KiwiRail had a graduate programme, it seemed like a no-brainer to apply!

How did you find the transition coming from university into the working world?

Since I was already working in a different industry before I came to KiwiRail, the transition was quite easy. There’s still a lot of learning to be done when you come into the business which is great for my continued professional development.

What would a day at KiwiRail look like for you during the graduate programme?

This is entirely depending on the day and the project. I could be in the office working on calculations, designs, and project plans or reviewing principles and standards. Or I could be in the field looking at our assets and prospective project sites, having a chat with local production teams and stakeholders to conduct site meetings.

What was your favourite part about KiwiRail/ the graduate programme?

My favourite part is the variety of projects that I was able to get involved with. During my time in the programme, I was involved in a bunch of different disciplines of engineering teams, in infrastructure and in rolling stock, a data analysis project that looked at predicting rail events across different parts of the country as well as programme and project management for various parts of the country.

What have you learned during the graduate programme?

The true list of what I’ve learned during my time as a KiwiRail graduate might be a bit too long to list. A snapshot from the engineering aspect would include, track design, traction and electrical overhead line equipment design, platform design, and rolling stock mechanical design.

From the business/data side of things, I’ve learned how to do trend analysis and asset management processes that are crucial to any organisation looking after its assets. There are also a lot of project management skills to learn when you’re in the graduate program especially now when there are so many different projects going on in the industry.

How would you describe being a graduate at KiwiRail?

It’s an incredible experience – you get to meet so many different people that have a wealth of knowledge for you to learn from and you get exposed to so many different things that most people don’t even know about. The biggest aspect is that you get to be directly involved with critical national infrastructure that has an impact on the entire country.

How did the graduate programme help you in your professional and career progression?

It’s helped me figure out a career path that I had previously never even thought about. The support and development you get here are fantastic and the amount of people willing to provide you with their time and knowledge is just incredible.

What advice can you give to university students/ potential applicants?

The best advice I can give to anyone that wants to join the program is not be afraid to learn. There’s so much to take in and continuously develop yourself every day. Learn to communicate with people from different backgrounds – a big part of being in the program is interfacing with many different teams and disciplines and if you can do that effectively, the sky’s the limit.

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