Science skills in Resources

Science skills are important to ensuring operations across the resources sector are conducted safely and the best policies are in place to support industry and communities close to resources sites. We also undertake research to ensure potential investors have access to the most current geoscience.

Based in different locations and working in diverse roles, resources staff have a passion for exploring the unknown, using their skills to chart new ground and overcome practical challenges.

Skills in science could set you up for a career working in the resources sector.

To celebrate National Science Week 2022, we’re highlighting the experiences of six scientists working across the branch to develop Victoria’s resources.

Danny Suster – Director Extractives

Danny SusterHow did you get into your career?

After obtaining a PhD in Science while working in Agriculture with the department I moved away from research to explore roles in Policy.

One thing led to another, giving me opportunities to delve into policy roles in agriculture, animal welfare, minerals, gas and quarries.

Resources policy is such a diverse and challenging area. It involves understanding industry, community engagement and program management, all of which need to link back to the government’s aims and objectives.

What advice would you have for those interested in a science-based career?

Be adaptable. If you have a passion for science and would like to work in government, be flexible and respond to the ever-changing challenges governments face.

Helena Dixon – Environmental Scientist

Helena Dixon How did you get into your career?

I’ve always been passionate about science and finding ways to apply this to the every day. I started in the analytical chemical industry, analysing wheat and barley grains during the brewing process. It was amazing to see my knowledge implemented in real life from what I learnt at university. I was fortunate to then get a spot in the two-year science graduate program in the public sector and from there was able to pursue my interest in using science to benefit the community. I’m proud to have already used my knowledge to lead research into different types of chemical management systems for mines, finding ways to stop pollution in waterways.

What advice would you have for those interested in a science-based career?

Science based careers look really different to what you expect and hear about at university. My advice would be to look for different opportunities, think out of the box and be flexible in where you can apply your knowledge. Science offers a diverse skill set and there are plenty of jobs out there. I thought doing a four-year PhD as a Research Scientist was the only way to be a scientist. However, taking this graduate role was the best decision I made. It’s more tangible and I’m able to go straight into implanting new policies, benefiting communities and providing a positive impact to industry.

Jessica Hunt – Assistant Director, Complex Mines and Emergency Response

Jessica Hunt How did you get into your career?

I enrolled in science subjects at school because I wanted to be a firefighter. I soon realised that science was fun and it was for me! However, when I investigated careers, I realised I didn’t have the right personality type to work in a lab. I kept looking and discovered engineering was about applying science to solve practical problems. This sounded much more engaging and gratifying than working in a lab. Chemistry was my favourite subject, so I studied chemical engineering.

What advice would you have for those interested in a science-based career?

Do it! Science/engineering teaches you how to think and solve problems. This means that even if the ‘purist’ occupations don’t suit you, there’s an infinite number of other ways you can utilise your skills.

For a more comprehensive insight into my background, have a listen to an interview with me on the Engineers Australia podcast Engineering Heroes released in 2018.

Rami Eid – Senior Geologist, Energy Resource Systems

Rami Eid How did you get into your career?

I’ve always been fascinated by nature and natural disasters like earthquakes! I’m curious about how they form and the lead up to it. I was lucky to fulfill my curiosity by doing geology in high school. This is where my passion grew to lead me to a major in geology at university and then on to honours in energy systems which set me up for a job at Geological Survey of Victoria (GSV). At the GSV, I worked on one of Australia’s flagship carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects which made me want to learn more in this field. I went on to do a PhD, specialising in CCS modelling and monitoring, which took me to Edinburgh in the UK where I learnt from the best.

What advice would you have for those interested in a science-based career?

Working in this field can be challenging at times, and you might come across a few roadblocks on the way, but you just have to follow your curiosity as the results are very rewarding, especially when you see it applied in the real world.

Sue Shang – CarbonNet Graduate Officer

Sue Shang How did you get into your career?

I am passionate about the energy sector, especially emerging energy technologies and their role in mitigating climate change. That’s why I pursued my degrees in both petroleum engineering and renewable energy engineering. I joined the CarbonNet team via DJPR’s one-year graduate program. This program sets a supportive environment for graduates to learn and develop. I’m leveraging my engineering background from daily work. It also provides me a great opportunity to understand how regulatory work, stakeholder engagement and project management processes come together to support the delivery of the whole project.

What advice would you have for those interested in a science-based career?

Don’t be daunted by science-based subjects in the early stage of your study. Technologies are emerging every second and they are interconnected. Studying one scientific or engineering discipline doesn’t necessarily limit your career to that specific field.

For myself, petroleum and renewable energy engineering seem to be totally contradictory, but I’ve learned more about both in my day-to-day work. STEM degrees will provide you with the general technical knowledge and research skills. Stay passionate and you will gain the confidence to approach new concepts and challenges along your work journey.

Victoria Fitzgerald – Offshore Regulatory Manager, CarbonNet

Victoria Fitzgerald How did you get into your career?

I liked maths at school, so started a Science degree majoring in Maths with the aim of being a Maths teacher. However my time at university took me down another route where I took a subject called “History and Philosophy of Science”, focusing on geology and astronomy. I was amazed by plate tectonics and switched to an Earth Science major, ultimately joining a big energy company in Perth. When I returned to university later in my career, I ended up becoming a teacher! My students were very concerned about the climate and environment, and I decided to use my knowledge to help realise one of Australia’s leading climate mitigation projects - CarbonNet.

What advice would you have for those interested in a science-based career?

Start with what you like and what you are good at. Industry and technology are changing all the time. You cannot possibly know all the options that exist for you at the moment and in the future! Keep an eye and an ear out, take opportunities when they emerge, and follow your interests. A degree shows that you can think, work in a team and meet deadlines - particularly targeted subjects are important but not critical. If you have motivation to learn and succeed, your career will take care of itself.

Page last updated: 15 Aug 2022