Driving Diversity Scholarship winner completes engineering degree and gains full time employment

One of the first winners of Engineers Australia Tasmania's Driving Diversity in Engineering Scholarship, is now working full time in the underground mining industry after finishing her degree in maritime engineering.
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For Devonport’s Hayley Bellinger, her first six months working as a graduate engineer at Caterpillar Underground Mining in Burnie have been galvanizing.

The 22-year-old, who graduated from Australian Maritime College, institute of the University of Tasmania in Launceston last year, is now a member of Caterpillar’s Product Group.

“It’s exciting to work in the underground mining industry where we’re developing more sustainable solutions for our customers, including battery powered machines,” she said.

Hayley was the winner of one of the first Engineers Australia Tasmania’s Driving Diversity in Engineering Scholarships in 2018. Caterpillar Underground Mining partnered with Engineers Australia to launch the Engineering Diversity Scholarship in 2018 for a first-year female engineering student, of which Hayley was Caterpillar’s first Scholarship recipient.

She is a Devonport High School and Don College graduate, who was interested in a career in engineering from Grade 10.

“I was pretty much always interested in maths and sciences, but in Grade 10 I did the Science and Engineering Challenge. It really opened my eyes to what engineering was and could do.

“It was all about the process of applying and solving problems. It helped me really understand that that’s what engineering was and does. I really enjoyed it.”

That continued through her four years at the AMC, where she completed her degree in Maritime Engineering, majoring in Marine and Offshore Engineering.

“The focus was the systems on ships and structures at sea. We covered systems such as engines, hydraulics, electrical, control systems and more.

“What I really enjoyed was the hand-on nature of the course and the projects we completed every year.”

The projects included building an autonomous boat to run a programmed course and another boat powered by a rat trap in First Year. In her second year, Hayley and her team built a semi-submersible ship, constructed from cardboard.

Her Third Year, like so many Tasmanian students in 2020, was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and saw her studying from home.

In Fourth Year, Hayley built a submarine – two models; one from wood to test for resistance in the AMC’s towing tank and the second fully functioning remote control one. She and her team also designed an offshore seaweed farm.

Throughout her four-year degree, Bellinger completed vacation work each semester with Caterpillar in various areas of the Caterpillar business from hydraulics, structures and test and validation. Through this work she gained further practical experience and a feel for the industry.

Since finishing her degree in 2021, Bellinger is now focused on forging her career at Caterpillar.

“I am just keen to get in and work. I want to keep working with and through the company, doing as many projects as possible in the coming years.”

Don Emmerton, Caterpillar’s Engineering Manager, said Caterpillar acknowledges the fast-paced nature of changing engineering technology, and our success depends on ensuring we have highly talented, unique and diverse teams.

“Gender diversity is an important aspect of helping ensure we build the best team. Having diversity of thought drives creative and innovative solutions, while delivering superior results that positively impact the people and communities where we live and work,” Mr Emmerton said.

“It’s through diverse thinking, ideas, experiences and the decision making of our people that strengthen our team. We want to encourage females entering the engineering field to help drive those creative and innovative ideas.

“Caterpillar is delighted to be involved with Engineers Australia in making these scholarships available to assist women pursuing a career in engineering and we are so pleased to have Hayley join our team.”