James Ghent - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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James Ghent

USC graduate James Ghent was inspired to become an engineer after spending seven years in the defence force.

His time in the Australian Navy included tours of duty in Afghanistan and around Asia, and an apprenticeship as an electronics technician.

"But I always wanted to work on bigger things, big projects – things like buildings and structures," James said. "All roads pointed to becoming a civil engineer."

James, who attended high school in Coolum, returned to the Sunshine Coast and enrolled in a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Honours) at USC. When he started classes, he compiled a list of more than 100 companies he thought he could eventually work for. At the top of the list was Arup – a multinational engineering firm responsible for some of the world’s most iconic buildings, including the Sydney Opera House, Beijing’s National Stadium (the ‘Bird’s Nest’) and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Four years later, he was the first graduate engineer hired for Arup's then-newly opened Maroochydore office, working in the company's transport and resources division.

James said he believed the skills and knowledge he had gained at USC had given him an edge in his application to work at the internationally renowned company.

“My degree and the work placements I did as part of it gave me a really good understanding of what engineers actually do on the ground,” James said.

“The best part about studying at USC has been being able to build some incredible relationships with both students and staff.”

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