NT engineering students put construction skills to the test building international student mecca

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
3 Min Read

Northern Territory engineering students are paving the way for Darwin to become an international education hub as they build towards successful construction careers.

Work is well underway on the Charles Darwin University new city campus, which is proposed to become an international student mecca upon completion next year.

The mammoth-sized project is part of CDU’s ambition to attract more students from around the globe to help grow cohort numbers in the territory by creating an opportunity to live, work and study in Darwin’s CBD.

Before Covid, International students generated $145 million for the NT’s economy with international students contributing $40,000 each in the Territory every year.

CDU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Scott Bowman, said the city campus would transform Darwin education and unlock Northern Australia’s true potential.

“This campus is our commitment to ensuring academics, students, and the Darwin community reap the benefits of having a modern, high-quality tertiary education facility right on their doorstep,” he said.

Priceless hands-on experience

In the meantime, the construction allows the university’s Master of Engineering students to take their education to new heights, interning to help build the campus’ Education and Community Precinct.

Student and project intern Anthony Glo said the first-hand experience had helped expand his engineering interests from design to project management and construction.

“This has been an invaluable hands-on experience. What I have learnt about structural integrity and materials science is being applied to a real-world project,” he said.

“One of my goals in life is to be able to point at a building and say that I played a part in its construction – the fact that my first project is CDU’s new campus is already a great achievement.”

Fellow student Kevin Goodaliya said being a part of the project provided him with real-world tools to benefit his future career.

“I’ve never worked in construction before, so I’ve learned something new every day, whether it’s how to do a site observation or progress report, manage competing priorities, or work with a team,” he said.

“The support of my mentors has allowed me to sharpen my skills in mechanical engineering and gain a better understanding of project planning, including safety and quality assurance.”

Professor Bowman explained that providing on-the-job work experience opportunities would add a feather in students’ caps – or construction hats.

“Giving students like Kevin and Allen the opportunity to be involved in such a major project for the Northern Territory is setting them up for success even before they graduate,” Professor Bowman said.

The University’s Education and Community precinct is scheduled to open in time for semester two of 2024.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.