Grad story – My first six months at Abley

In February this year, I started my journey at Abley as a Graduate Transportation Engineer. Being new to the workforce, I was unsure what to expect. As a new grad, I had visions of getting coffees, photocopying and all those menial stereotypical jobs (like in the movies). Apart from being the Friday drinks dispenser (jokes aside), my time at Abley has been nothing like this. From the get-go I have been heavily involved in projects, applying the skills I learnt at university wherever I could. My colleagues have been very welcoming, making me feel like part of the team from day one.

I have been involved in projects with several different clients, as part of the Strategy and Planning team. One such project was a Parking Management Plan (and strategy) for Taupō District Council. I worked alongside Council engineers to develop parking restrictions and monitoring methods adapted to suit everyone (the public and Council). 

I have been fortunate enough to be involved in projects across all areas of our business. This has given me great experience, ranging from technical advice for resource consents, to full scale speed management and safety assessments on some of New Zealand’s major highways. This has exposed me to many areas of transportation engineering and has allowed me to work with different team members, clients and consultants.

mid-winter dinner

One of my highlights so far was attending the 2021 Transportation Group conference (see my takeaways here!). This was great opportunity to gain industry exposure and valuable insights to the technical ideas associated with decarbonising transport in New Zealand. This also gave me the chance to meet other transportation professionals and was an excellent opportunity to work on my networking skills, which was hard to achieve while at university (especially during 2020). I have also attended some Engineering New Zealand events this year, which further enhanced my understanding of the industry and also gave me opportunities to network with peers.

Professional development at Abley has been regular and relevant for my role. Numerous training courses (CoPTTM, internal and external training, Te Reo) have enabled me to further my development beyond the technical.

I have embraced Abley’s social culture. As a member of the Social Non-Club Committee, I have been involved with organising the company Mid-Winter dinner, weekend away and many other social events. It’s been useful to do this early in my career, as it gives me an appreciation of how much work goes into planning such events. It also allows me to connect with my colleagues and their families outside of the office and is a great way to get to know team mates, making working with them easier!

Abley’s flexible working culture has allowed me to keep up with sport and other interests whilst working full-time. I have been able to work remotely from anywhere in the country, which has been handy when I go back home (to Wellington) for the weekend. Abley’s offices in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington are also useful for remote working hubs. Being able to work from home as and when required has been helpful in making the transition from university to work easier – diminishing the fear students have of working in an office all day, every day. In addition, it means that when a lockdown occurs, you’re ready to continue working as normal (happening as I write this)!

Working at Abley has been an easy transition from university student to a full time employee. My team, the support we receive, the interesting work we do and the flexible working arrangements have made it a seamless transition. I feel as though I have been part of this team for years given the depth of experience I’ve received already. Thank you Abley, I’m having a blast!

Transportation Group conf

International cultural pot luck lunch at the Christchurch office. Jae Morse is fifth from the right.