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Leadership tips from Australia’s foremost female engineer

21 May 2016

In a move that’s changing the industry for the better, Australia’s female engineers are beginning to dilute the sector’s masculine reputation.

Among these female leaders is Julie Shuttleworth; a well-known name in Australian engineering. The former Australian Mining Mine Manager of the Year and Telstra WA Businesswoman of the Year is currently the General Manager of the Fortescue Metals Group. She is widely celebrated for having climbed through the male-dominated ranks of her industry. The following three tips explore how to take your career to the next level using exemplary leadership traits.

Lead by example

Shuttleworth’s upward career trajectory is inspirational. She has been involved in the Buzwagi Gold Project, which involved recruiting a team of Tanzanians and training them to deliver a project on schedule and budget; leading Barrick’s Granny Smith Mine; and then moving onto Fortescue’s Cloudbreak and Solomon mines in Western Australia.

Confidence is key

In an interview with recruitment consultancy firm Michael Page, the pioneering engineer said that women chasing leadership roles in the mining and broader engineering sector need to be confident in how they communicate and present themselves, be authentic and just “go for it!”

She also admitted that the mining industry can be stressful, but that she has developed strategies to overcome the pressure on the job. Delegating, developing the skills of those around her, and not rushing in when something needs to be done quickly have all been an important part of her success.

Forge your own path

It’s important to set your own goals and communicate your career aspirations with relevant stakeholders that can help you get where you want to be. You’re responsible for your own success however clear communication of your aspirations is important in outlining your intentions.

Are you keen to follow in Julie Shuttleworth’s footsteps? A Master of Engineering Management could be exactly what you need to rise through the ranks of an industry with tremendous opportunities and the ability to send you all over the world.

The Australian Mining Industry is facing a critical skills shortage, and the number of jobs is set to grow, particularly for women.

Currently, only 18 per cent of mining jobs are filled by women, and increased female participation in the workforce is a key strategy for addressing the skills deficit. Many companies are working towards improving their gender diversity, providing new opportunities for women in the industry. A Master of Engineering Management with SCU Online is similar to an MBA for engineers. Taught by industry and academic leaders, the course is designed to prepare you to lead and innovate across any engineering discipline, or even start your own firm. You’ll learn how to respond strategically to growing population demand, among many other global issues. It may even count towards your continued professional development requirements with Engineers Australia or your relevant professional registering body.

For more information, call SCU Online on 1300 589 882.