Inspiring the next generation to follow their dreams
Michael Eagle was encouraged to chase his dreams and become an engineer. That support changed his life. Now he’s encouraging Indigenous kids to think big and grasp the opportunities that are out there.
This is Michael Eagle.
He’s from the Gooreng Gooreng mob, connected through his grandmother from Gladstone. He grew up in Nanango and was the first person in his family to go to university. His 15-year career as a mechanical engineer has taken him across Australia and the world, nine of those years with Shell. He spent almost three years working in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, he’s worked in England and in New Zealand where he worked for Shell Todd Oil Services and has just returned home to Queensland to work at Shell’s QGC business.
The easiest way to describe Michael’s current job (he’s part of the ‘Enhanced Problem-Solving Team’) is “mythbusters” for the natural gas industry. Basically, he works as part of a team of experts that take on operational reliability problems impacting the business, investigate them using the causal learning method and recommend solutions to eliminate the problem.
He’s 35 and has achieved a lot. And there’s a lot more ahead of him.
However, he admits it might not have happened without support and encouragement from some key mentors along the way. That’s why he’s so passionate about doing his part to encourage young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to chase their dreams.
“My mum and dad really encouraged me, and I had a couple of key mentors when I was younger,” Michael said.
“Without them I definitely wouldn’t have gone into engineering. A lot of kids don’t have that.”
Michael says a lot of young people also aren’t aware of the opportunities that are out there. He knows, because he was one of them.
It was his high school physics teacher who encouraged him to do work experience at Tarong Power station, near Nanango. This cemented his decision to become an engineer.
It was the school guidance counselor who told him about the National Indigenous Cadetship Program – which he successfully applied for. This provided on-the-job placements throughout his degree and meant he got his foot in the door with engineering company Laing O’Rourke.
“That only happened because someone told me it existed. I had no idea about these opportunities that were out there.”
Now, Michael is doing his bit to let people know about those same opportunities and show them what’s possible. He’s part of Indigenous Engineers Australia and wants to do his part to encourage more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into science, technology, engineering and maths careers.
“A lot of Aboriginal kids want to help their community. They see there is a direct link in becoming a doctor, or a lawyer, or a social worker and being able help their people,” he said.
“That link with science and engineering is a little harder to see, but there’s so much you can do and contribute in terms of building the community.
“One of the things I want to do is show people what’s possible and the opportunities to help your community in this type of career.”
Find out more about the opportunities we’re offering here.
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