Caitlin engineers work-life balance

Our people > 2nd September, 2020

Like many 18-year-olds, Caitlin Gilheany wasn’t sure what she wanted to do for a career when she left high school. But she did know two things: she enjoyed maths and she wanted to work in the great outdoors. So when, in her first year of a science degree at the University of Melbourne, she was offered the chance to study surveying, it was as though all her stars had aligned.

 “I didn’t know about surveying until I did it in my first year and really enjoyed it,” she says.

“I liked the problem solving aspect and being able to spend lots of time outside, hiking through the bush.”

After completing her Master of Engineering (Geomatics) in 2014, Gilheany found employment in Whyalla. “I worked as a graduate surveyor at the Steelworks for a couple of years, which was really interesting and it was an engineering-type role, which I really liked.”

In 2017, her chance came to join the mining business, in the role of mine surveyor. Splitting her time between the field and the office, it’s a role that brings great job satisfaction.

“I tell the drills and digger where to mine and drill, and afterwards I collect the data with hi-tech equipment like laser scanners and drones,” she says.

Gilheany’s week-on, week-off roster also gives her plenty of time to enjoy her beloved outdoors while staying connected with friends and family.

“I only go to Melbourne a couple of times a year – as much as I grew up in Melbourne, I’m not really a city person so it suits me better to be away from it,” she says. “I love being able to explore Outback South Australia and go on little overnight adventures, hiking and camping. I’m not too far from the Flinders Ranges – that’s my favourite part of the state.”

Keeping that connection with nature is a key element of Gilheany’s plans for her future career. “There are plenty of options to climb the career ladder but that’s not what I want to do,” she says. “I’m quite happy staying in Whyalla where I get to keep going out into the field: I like that work-life balance you get from that.”

The original version first appeared in SACOME’s Resourceful publication.

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