Studying and networking go hand in hand at UQ

7 Jul 2021
From day one, UQ Sustainable Energy students are given opportunities to network and build relations outside the classroom.

Networking with industry, government and academia plays an integral part of studying Sustainable Energy at The University of Queensland. Since the Master of Sustainable Energy was first offered in 2012, students have been exposed to professional networking from early on, also via external lecturers.

UQ Senior Lecturer and Program Coordinator Dr Tony Heynen said it is of great value to students when they meet industry and government contacts as well as academics in the field of energy, often in connection with special networking events.

“Not only do our students connect with and learn directly from specialised professionals with informed knowledge, they also get to practise their elevator pitch and sharpen their communication skills,” Dr Heynen said.

“Networking outside the classroom is beneficial because it may lead to student internships and future job opportunities once mutual connections are established.”

“At the same time, we get a chance to showcase what studying Sustainable Energy at UQ is all about and how diverse our cohorts coming from different backgrounds are. Many of our students have work experience or are already working in the sector.”

Regular networking events take place during week-intensive courses and most often as breakfast meetings, with a presentation around sustainable energy and time for talking and mingling. For students who study online, they participate on Zoom as far as possible.

Master of Sustainable Energy student Benita Blunden, who has just completed her first semester, said networking as a natural part of her degree is a welcome and fun learning experience.

“I enjoy hearing about the challenges that the energy industry is working on and studying Sustainable Energy gives me a greater understanding of what will be needed to shift to a decarbonised future,” Ms Blunden said.

“Meeting with and talking to industry leaders also allows me to grasp how the various industries are working towards a decarbonised future.”

“Career-wise, I am keen to use what I have learnt so far and would love to be involved in strategies that allow new renewable energy projects to be installed in both a socially and environmentally equitable manner.”

In Semester 1, 2021, CleanCo Queensland's CEO Dr Maia Schweizer was among the leading energy experts students got to meet.

Dr Maia Schweizer, CEO at CleanCo Queensland, recently took part in a networking breakfast as a speaker, discussing Queensland’s potential in a decarbonising world. She said she was pleased to share her time and knowledge as there are so many opportunities for students in this sector.

“I found the questions and discussion after my presentation highly engaging and the chance to have a chat with some students beforehand enlightening,” Dr Schweizer said.

“It recharges my own battery to hear about the angles the students are taking on challenges – including social license, technology evolution, and the capturing and sharing of economic benefits here in Queensland.”

“In a time of rapid change, it can be easy to see the negatives or uncertainties in the energy transition. Yet what we have in front of us is really an unprecedented opportunity that needs all the smart and passionate people we can draw to it.”

Find out more about UQ’s Sustainable Energy programs: Master of Sustainable Energy (Management) (4 semesters), Master of Sustainable Energy (3 semesters), Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Energy (2 semesters) and Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Energy (1 semester).