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Story / Corporate 22 Feb 2017

Meet the grads - Alex Nguyen

What attracted you to apply for the Sydney Water Graduate Program?

I was drawn to Sydney Water’s key role in delivering essential services and maintaining our quality of life in Sydney. I’ve always wanted to pitch in to make an impact on the broader community, and so Sydney Water as a leader in this industry was a natural choice for me.

During my final year of university, I completed an Industry Experience program with Sydney Water, which exposed me to the passion that people have in doing their part to improve customer service (being customers themselves). To me, this spoke volumes about the culture in this organisation and was the final push to apply and continue as a graduate.

What’s the best part about working for Sydney Water?

What I enjoy about working at Sydney Water are the range of opportunities and the people working here. I’m encouraged by people’s initiative and willingness to share their wealth of experience. I’ve been lucky to able to work with many experts in fields including water and wastewater treatment plants, wastewater chemical dosing units and business analytics.

The opportunity to gain perspective on the role that so many different teams play, both in the field and outside, has been a unique experience and invaluable in directing my own career path.

What’s been your proudest moment at Sydney Water?

I’ve had some truly fulfilling contributions to operational challenges and workflow improvement projects, but my proudest moment would have to be a conversation that occurred outside of work.

One evening over dinner, my sister decided to probe me about my role in the ‘Chemical Dosing’ Team – a confusing term to the unfamiliar ear. I took the opportunity to explain the importance of specific chemicals in keeping water drinkable and wastewater pipes free of odour and corrosion, while advocating for drinking tap water. As my sister is a dentist, this information was very useful for her. She could make more informed recommendations to her patients about the health (and cost) benefits of drinking fluoridated tap water.

The best part was that her patients commented on how water and especially wastewater services, though not often thought about, are essential services.

I’m proud to be a part of a team keeping our water safe and wastewater unseen to the customer as it travels through the pipes.

Have you worked in the one team/one role or moved about? Where have you worked?

My career at Sydney Water started as an undergraduate in the Energy Management and Eco-efficiency team, where I helped review Sydney Water’s opportunities to use renewable energy. After joining as a graduate, I worked to improve workflows and resolve operational challenges in the Chemical Dosing Team. I am now in my second placement in Digital Solutions where I will be working alongside the Digital Development Team to pilot mobile technology for the workforce.

What about the future of Sydney Water that excites you most?

I’m most excited to see the result of the mobile technology initiatives and how they’ll enable the business. In my last placement, I gained insight on Sydney Water’s field workforce operations and I’m now in a placement where I can help improve on their mobile technology and create value for the business. As mobile technology (e.g. internet of things) matures, Sydney Water has the potential to innovate in asset management (among other areas) and realise benefits for our business and our customers.

What’s something you want to achieve or accomplish this year?

This year, I have set sights on making real software development contributions on at least two mobile initiatives in my new role. My aim is to develop both the technical and soft skills required in scoping and delivering a project and become an all-round competent team member.

How do you balance your career and other commitments? Has working at Sydney Water helped you in any way?

My main strategy with balance is to recognise that while commitments will be infinite, time is not. Rather than spread my brain across everything, I focus on completing key responsibilities well and trying not to sweat about the small stuff.

Sydney Water has been key in helping me maintain this order by giving me flexibility and time to improve my productivity through pursuing further education. I’ve also had opportunities to attend many Sydney Water-led professional development events which have helped expand my industry knowledge.

What advice would you give to people who want to or are considering applying to Sydney Water’s Graduate Program?

My advice would be to do your research and really explore the scope of Sydney Water – you’ll be surprised by what you find and where you can contribute your skills. Once your interest is confirmed, attend a university careers expo and meet someone who works at Sydney Water to get a genuine feel for what it’s like.