Sydney Water have put the spotlight on Fiona Copeman, a Chemical Engineer kicking goals for females within the Engineering Industry.
Fiona, who works as a Production Officer at the Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant, believes that historically, treatment plants were a “blokey” place to work, so therefore the proportion of men against women is higher. However, recently she is seeing a shift in this trend. Recruitment of women is balancing this out and boosting the numbers of women in treatment.
“My job is great because it is different every day. I get to make changes and see the result of those changes. There is a lot of job satisfaction in that.”
When Fiona graduated from her University degree, she knew she wanted to work somewhere where she could make a difference for people and the environment. Fiona could see that diversity, character and high achievement are all valued concepts to Sydney Water. This highly appealed to her and she was inspired to apply for a position.
Working as a Production Officer has turned Fiona into an “all-rounder” as her job presents different aspects to her every day. Her day-to-day role may involve checking that equipment on the plant is working to acceptable standards, organising projects, engaging contractors, reviewing safety procedures and checking the laboratory processes.
There is no denying that “sometimes it can be a dirty job.” At times Fiona is required to shovel screenings and sludge when the wastewater system chokes up, however, Fiona loves the variability of her work. Her work can depend on the weather or what customers put down the sewer. “Different things are happening in this process every day and you can see the results and the benefits of your work.”
Whether you are a male or female, Fiona says being a Production Officer at a treatment plant is a fantastic role. “This job is rewarding. It has a great work-life balance and you get to meet and work with really interesting people.”
Fiona’s advice to all students considering their future to “Come work at Sydney Water…if you have ideas, there are people who are keen to hear them and run with them. It’s a great place to work, learn and progress.”
Utility regularly features profiles on women making their mark in the world of public utilities. Click on each name to read about the work Jenny Gannon, Melanie Dunnill and Julia Johns are doing around Australia.