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Personal Reflective Report on Aspirations within Civil Engineering

Spring 2018 - ENGG942 Final Individual Reflection: 

To understand the process of personal reflection in professional practice, students will be required to work individually this session to complete a personal reflection and a personal development plan. This project will require students to go personal reflection associated with development of an individual personal reflection report as covered in lectures and tutorials.

Description

This assignment requires you to prepare a personal reflective report regarding the outcomes gained from the Spring Session of the Engineering Professional Practice subject. Again, this statement will be very personal. Opinions reflected back from lecture material should not appear in your statement. This report is for your personal reflection on: i. your aspirations within ‘Engineering’. ii. the topics covered within the Spring Session of ENGG942. iii. a personal development plan as an Appendix to your report and, your impressions of how (ii) and (iii) impacts upon (i). This statement has a 1000-word limit – within this limit, ensure that you have clearly conveyed all your thoughts on the topic. Note that the personal development plan is not included within the 1000 word limit.

Assessment Criteria

Your statement will be assessed on two primary criteria: the depth of your statement (i.e. evidence of genuine and personal reflection on the Spring Session subject material) with the personal development plan and the clarity of your expression. See Moodle site for rubric

Subject Learning Outcomes Assessed

Develop intercultural communication skills, with emphasis on team work. Have enhanced understanding of Australian workplace culture and practices, e.g. occupational health and safety; regulatory requirements. Have an understanding of the underpinning theories of economics, communication, marketing and career development that contribute to an individual being able to manage their career.

Answer

I have a background of Civil Engineering and have special interest in exploring the details of structures and understand structural concepts. With the aspiration of achieving success in the field of civil engineering and gaining professional understanding and knowledge about the skills required to access the Australian workforce, I am pursuing the current course in Engineering and Information Sciences. My interest and my academic strength in the field of mathematics along with a sound knowledge of latest technological applications in the field of civil engineering help me to explore the area of structural engineering. However my weaknesses in the area of people management, adjusting with different cultures and skills to manage conflicts act as a barrier to my career advancement. It limits me to technical area of expertise making it difficult to visualize my career as a successful manager in the field of civil engineering. 

While working on some engineering projects on part-time basis, I realized that civil engineering is not limited to technical skills, but need a combination of technical and intercultural skills, communication skills and other soft skills of management. However, I never focused on these additional skills and lack the understanding of an Australian workplace culture and practices. My weak areas of knowledge made it difficult to explore the application of economic theories, marketing strategies and communication skills required to manage my career in the field of engineering. While working in a multi-cultural globalized environment, every professional is expected to be culturally aware and acquire skills to manage the projects while working with people from different cultural background, values and beliefs. Such skills help in avoiding conflicts and implement team building strategies focused on directing workforce efforts towards safe completion of various projects. 

With the aim of expanding my career horizons, and moving beyond the technical expertise, the current course provides information of occupational health and safety requirements as well as soft skills required to acquire sharp management skills. I learned that it is always necessary to establish a sense of equity among various team members through regular discussion of roles, duties and responsibilities. This makes the people management skills even more important for civil engineers ensuring setting and communication of specific goals and direct individual efforts towards specific, measurable and measurable goals. I am able to develop these skills and link my technical and people management skills after undergoing a thorough study of management theories. This has made me confident of applying the discipline specific knowledge to practical workplace settings in future. 

Further, the study of failure projects helped me to get an in-depth knowledge of technical, ethical as well as professional issues associated with the field of civil engineering. I realized that it is not only the successful projects that act as a learning but failures also affect the civil engineering practice in a substantial manner. This is so as such cases help in placing and exploring the historical context of design and analysis procedures while reinforcing the need of lifelong learning. While undergoing the study of failure case studies into civil engineering education, I understood that there could be several ways of introducing these cases in colleges like forensic engineering, capstone design projects and an integrated approach to offer the case studies throughout the curriculum. The approach followed a during my studies was more of forensic in nature that provides a great depth in the topic by allowing me to link the course, topic and cases through a comprehensive study plan. 

A comprehensive approach to study the failure cases allowed me to explore the application of theories and topics in several different areas like mechanics of materials, structural analysis, reinforced concrete designing, steel designs and understanding the role of dynamics like mass moment of Inertia and stiffness in the failure case studies. 

Along with this knowledge, now I am better equipped with an understanding of the ways to incorporate safe design in my professional practice. I can better link my knowledge of workplace hazards and harmful effects with the failure projects and explore the ways to ensure safety in future projects. An understanding of common law, statutory OHS requirements and responsibilities along with detailed knowledge of risk management process will make me a skilled manager in the field of civil engineering. The study of failure case studies allowed me to actually look into the practical implementation and implications of risk analysis, controlling harmful effects of hazards, permitting work systems and using personal protective equipment. It also provided me the opportunity to visualize the need of understanding the principles of designing for minimization the human error and putting my knowledge of designing on reliability and safety of environment and people while managing a civil engineering project. Now I know about various sources of information related to OHS like ASCC, State WorkCover/ WorkSafe Authorities, which will act as a guide to ensure a safe workplace culture in future. 

Now, I am in a better position to demonstrate my understanding about professional practice issues like work procurement, importance of interaction between design and construction professionals, need of professional licensure and similar other issues. Long with the soft skills, I have detailed knowledge of workplace safety that needs significant attention while working on construction projects. I can be more open to criticism and feedback that will help me establish better rapport with my staff and team members ensuring success of projects. The failure case studies have made it possible for me to analyse the available data and historical information in a more professional and critical manner. Before this I never considered the importance of interactions between design and construction professionals to be important for the success of a project. Also, the management component of the course would help me to apply the knowledge in a cross-functional manner, allow motivation of team members and using my strengths while working on my weaknesses and open new career avenues for me as a professional civil engineer in Australia. 

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