James Curran was at school in Rockhampton when he heard about Engineering Aid Australia’s Summer School. Up until then he hadn’t thought much about engineering or engineers but he said the summer school at Newcastle Uni “seemed like an opportunity to go to a different place and see something different”.
James went to EAA’s summer school in 2000. “The summer school really helped to open my eyes to university and engineering and solidified my choice of engineering as a profession.”
When James left school he completed an associates degree in civil engineering.
He’s just finished a degree in civil engineering and environment management at Queensland University of Technology. James says “it’s been a long road” to his degree, as it’s taken him a couple of goes to finish it.
This is mainly because his work as an engineer kept getting in the way of studying for his civil engineering degree. Although he mowed lawns and worked as a kitchen hand, a cleaner and at a bakery the first time he was a student, since then James has “been working as an engineer all the while”.
His long-term jobs in both the public and private sector include working with an Indigenous construction company, a cadetship with the Queensland Department of Main Roads and as a full-time project engineer for a company that built pipelines to carry coal seam gas.
“When I got my foot in the door for that job, I was told it would only be for six months and then I was supposed to go back to uni. Instead I worked there from 2011 until 2015, then I went back to uni!”
While studying full-time at QUT this year, James started “a small pipeline construction company with a friend that has been quite successful so far”. In fact so successful, that from now on he’s now going to be devoting his working life full-time to MOEC Pty Ltd, which is one of the first Indigenous civil/pipeline construction contractors in Australia.