When we spoke to Tanya Sidana, she was beaming with gratitude for the perfect start to her engineering career. She started at UGL while still at university and is now in their graduate program. In our conversation, Tanya shares what she loves most about working at UGL and why we all need to set the bar high in our careers.
Tanya originally applied for a different role, and even though she didn’t get that initial job, she had a great candidate experience. The hiring manager said she would be a great addition to the company, which inspired Tanya to keep applying.
“Some of my friends began working at UGL and told me about potential opportunities. They spoke very highly of UGL. I went for an interview, and even though I didn’t get the job at the time, they [UGL] were convinced that I belonged in the company.”
Eventually, Tanya landed a position while she was still studying, giving her early exposure and experience into the world of engineering.
My journey at UGL has been very fun. I started two years ago as a contracts administrator. I love the culture and the people here, the work is exciting, and it challenges me all the time.
Tanya wanted a breadth of experience in engineering, so when she graduated, she applied for UGL’s graduate program and was thrilled to get it.
“I’m in the graduate program now. You learn so much in this program. The experience you get here is nothing you can learn from a textbook.”
Early exposure to impactful projects
Tanya is now a year into her graduate program and loving it. The program provides invaluable opportunities to work on significant projects.
“In my current rotation, my responsibilities include working alongside an experienced engineering team to review submitted designs as part of a fifteen-year maintenance contract with the government. I manage all the important documents and registers used on the project.”
“I’ve also worked on a regional project in Dubbo where UGL is the maintainer. It’s less of a commercial project but one that helps to stimulate the economy. UGL has partnerships with the community, including the traditional land owners. The project helps bring jobs to that local economy which is great.”
Tanya is thriving in her graduate role because of the support and exposure to new and exciting opportunities. Her advice to other graduates is to have an open conversation with your manager about want you want to learn and achieve.
It is such a supportive and opportunity-filled environment. I have a lot of support, so I feel things can’t go wrong. There is plenty of room for personal and professional growth because you are given the chance to explore all facets of the business and develop new skills.
Something that Tanya learnt early on was prefacing your question with “sorry” doesn’t help with learning.
“There’s never a question that is considered silly — you’re always encouraged to ask questions and learn. I used to apologise when I asked a question. My current manager doesn’t apologise, no one else does it, so why should you?”
She can be what she can see
Tanya is even more determined to succeed in engineering because she is inspired by the leadership of the strong women at UGL. Seeing successful women in non-traditional roles is something Tanya deeply admires. Her ambition is to take on a leadership role one day.
Having strong women leaders at UGL to look up to and learn from gives me further motivation and confidence to strive towards constant growth.
Since starting at UGL, Tanya has seen a positive shift in the gender balance.
“I started to see a shift six months after starting. When I started, it seemed very male dominated on projects, then we started seeing more young women. Now there are so many women. It’s so lovely to see the change.”
Advocating for women to get into STEM is something Tanya pushed for while she was still in university. Tanya studied a double degree in engineering and accounting. She says it was interesting to see that her engineering classes barely had any women, but her accounting ones were filled with women.
“When I was in uni, I was a student ambassador and STEM ambassador trying to engage as many students, especially girls, into science-based fields of study. Students came into the university on open days to learn about STEM. I didn’t know much about engineering when I was at school. It wasn’t promoted much.”
It became a goal for me to help girls overcome the thought that science and engineering is a male-dominated field and to believe that we can succeed just as much, if not more!
“I want women everywhere to know that women can do it better if they didn’t have to worry about what others think.”
Tanya laughed when she admitted to being a gym junkie with a healthy obsession with chocolate.
“I love my sports and funnily enough my chocolates! Easter is my favourite time because somehow the chocolate eggs taste so much better than normal chocolate.”
Tanya shares how sport has the power to bring people together. She definitely knows her stuff when it comes to sports and it’s been intentional as a way to make conversation and connect with people.
Tanya’s parents came to Australia as migrants and worked hard to make sure she got the best start in life. She says her upbringing taught her never to give up and always to set the bar high.
My biggest thing is never to set an easily attainable goal. Set high goals, and you will achieve them. The sky is the limit. Keep going.
Tanya is a driven graduate who is surely going places. When we do get the opportunity to catch up with her again, she will probably be in a leadership role — I’m sure this will be a lot sooner than we think!
Subscribe to our monthly Women at Work email to find out about new stories, events and career building resources.
About the author
To help women find a workplace that will work for them, we prescreen employers on flexible working, pay equity, paid parental leave, and more. Find your next role on the WORK180 job board.