Regional Highlight

Robot grabs good grades and a great career

In choosing his year 12 research project, Renmark High School graduate Sukraj Singh “wanted it to be easy and to get a good grade,” so naturally he built a robotic four-wheel crane with a 3D printer. When RDA Murraylands and Riverland set up a Career Development Centre in the school, they spotted his potential and connected him with local engineering firm Dix Engineering, helping Sukraj land his first job.

“I started with Lego robotics when I was eight. My parents said I was wasting my time.” But, he clarifies, “I still did well at school, even though I was always mucking around with robots.”

Vice Principal David Crouch encouraged Sukraj, and even let the budding engineer take the school’s 3D printer home to refine his skills.

When Sukraj finished school last year, he wanted to pursue his passion in the Riverland, rather than heading to Adelaide for University.

“It’s heaps good, there’s so much potential here. I don’t want to move.”

In any case, he says, “I think Uni’s pretty boring. I’m more interested in the practical side of things.”

To help students transition to the rapidly changing work environment, Waikerie and Renmark High Schools approached RDA Murraylands and Riverland to introduce real-world career counselling.

The CDC in Schools program proved popular, with Sukraj and more than 30 other students booking one-on-one appointments to identify their capabilities, create a resume, and discuss employment trends and ways to tap into the hidden job market.

In Sukraj’s session with career practitioner Kerryn van Dyk, “she asked what my hobbies were, I said ‘building robots’. She asked what I was doing in the future, and she said she knew a guy. In a week I had a meeting with Andrew to show him the robot – he was real pleased. Within two weeks I got the job offer.”

Sukraj started as a full-time Trainee Engineer with Dix Engineering in January. Andrew Parkinson, General Manager of Finance at Dix Engineering couldn’t be happier with his new recruit.

“He’s excellent – I wish I had twenty more like him!”

“He’s got a very strong work ethic, and the school’s done a fantastic job at getting him work-ready with skills we can utilise.”

Dix Engineering is a small but growing Renmark company with an international reputation. Andrew says he is “investing in young people with new ideas and new skills who can help us evolve, develop new products and keep up with new manufacturing practices.”

“The RDA has been very good – they identified a talented person, and thought we might be interested in his skills.”

Sukraj speaks passionately about Dix Engineering’s flagship fruit labelling system, which he’s applying his 3D printing skills to. “I’m helping to build the new model, which will be sent around the world – it’s pretty cool.”

Contact our Berri and Murray Bridge Career Development Centres for free career counselling.

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“[The program] gave us enough background to know where to channel our efforts and find out if export is the right thing for us.”

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