Career prospects with UK engineering firm for Swinburne Sarawak grads

Dominic Ong

Ir Dr Dominic Ong

KUCHING: Civil engineering graduates from Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus could find themselves starting their careers abroad with UK-based Keller Group Plc.

This follows a recent MoU signed between the university and Keller, one of the world’s largest independent ground engineering specialist.

To date, five Swinburne Sarawak civil engineering graduates are on the payroll of the company. They are based at Keller’s Singapore and Kuala Lumpur offices and are engaged in landmark projects.

With the recent MoU, Swinburne Sarawak is expected to supply more civil engineering graduates to Keller’s offices worldwide in the coming years.

The MoU also called for collaboration on research and development projects that focus on innovative ground improvement technology to treat soft soils, which spans most of the low-lying coastal and riverbank areas in Sarawak.

The two entities also reached an agreement to develop a joint-research project focusing on the fundamental understanding of the load-transfer mechanism of floating stone columns installed in thick alluvial deposits.

“The outcomes of the research is expected help Keller gain a better understanding of the complex soil-structure interaction behaviour in Sarawak soft soils,” said Ir Dr Dominic Ong, Acting Director of Swinburne Sarawak Research Centre for Sustainable Technologies.

“We are synergising our research endeavours since both organisations believe in the advancement of innovative and sustainable technologies. As Sarawak has many marginal sites at low-lying areas that consist of peats and thick alluvial deposits, the collaboration is timely and strategic,” he said.
Under the agreement, Keller will provide financial support to a master degree candidate for two years with the opportunity to be absorbed as an engineer into the Keller group of companies, Ong added.

“So, there is ample opportunity for the candidate to develop real-world engineering experience under the guidance of Keller engineers,” said Ong, a geotechnical engineer by training.

Keller has around 9,000 employees worldwide and offices in over 40 countries. It provides a range of technically advanced and cost-effective geotechnical solutions such as heavy foundations, ground improvement and earth retention systems related to major infrastructure works.

Its high profile projects in Asia include Gardens by the Bay and Resort World Sentosa, both in Singapore, as well as ground improvement works at the SMART Tunnel Project, Penang Sewage Treatment Plant and the Ipoh-Rawang Double Track Project, in Peninsular Malaysia.

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