University of Queensland graduands Koshiv Niranjan and Gillian Smith are among the highly employable new faces set to deliver safer and healthier working conditions for the Australian workforce.
Koshiv and Gillian are part of this year’s Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety Science (Honours) cohort who will graduate at the UQ Centre on Wednesday, 14 December at 2pm.
Senior Lecturer in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences Dr Margaret Cook said three quarters of the graduating cohort had already secured jobs and she expects this number to grow in the next few weeks.
“Occupational health and safety professionals are in demand nationally and internationally,” she said.
“OHS professionals focus on preventing workplace injury and illness.
“Considering that a significant proportion of a person’s life is spent at work, it’s vital that the workplace is a safe and healthy environment.
“Members of our class of 2016 have already accepted jobs with a range of employers, including Lendlease, Multiplex, Woodside Energy, Watpac, Swire and Safe Work Australia.”
Graduands of the four year program can expect to earn at least 90 per cent above the average Australian salary, with packages ranging from $71,997 for graduates to OHS group managers earning on average $300,939.
Koshiv has been appointed to a graduate position with CBP Contractors, a major construction company with a team of 18,000 people working in operations across Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Asia and India.
The company, whose high profile projects include stage 2 of the Gold Coast light rail project, has appointed several members of the graduating class for their expertise.
Gillian is moving to Perth in the New Year to begin work as a Health and Safety Adviser with Woodside Energy, and hopes to use this experience in a high-risk industry to drive her further education.
“I chose to study at UQ after speaking to senior lecturers Margaret Cook and Cassandra Madigan about this degree and was confident I would enjoy the course and coursework experiences, and the large amount of job prospects on completion,” Gillian said.
“I am passionate about helping others and preventing injury and illness – rather than needing a cure.
“I enjoy how diverse the applications of my degree are, while ensuring workers return home in the same, or better condition than they came to work in.”
Gillian enjoyed the program’s field trips to the Lady Cilento research facility, the Queensland Government’s SIMTARS training, research and testing centre, and the Clem 7 tunnel.
She had work experience with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ), Foodbank, and Woodside Energy. She completed Woodside’s three-month summer vacation program in Perth, and subsequently was offered a place in their graduate program.
“Woodside's three-year graduate program offers exposure to a wide range of exciting and challenging opportunities within oil and gas facilities, both onshore and offshore,” she said.
“These experiences enriched my learning at UQ and deepened my passion for health and safety."
Koshiv became interested in science during his final years at Moreton Bay Boys’ College and chose to study at UQ for its global reputation, proximity to home and “the offering of such a great program.”
“One of the memorable parts of my UQ program has been industry placement, which I carried out at South Burnett Regional Council in Kingaroy,” he said.
“It was a great experience to be working away from home and was the start of gaining experience in my field. I also had the opportunity to work for CPB Contractors on a gas mining project in Miles, Queensland.”
Koshiv’s advice for potential students is to stay focused and apply for any industry experience opportunity that arises, while Gillian’s advice is to make friends with lecturers and course advisers to tap into their experiences as you begin to expand your knowledge.