Expert Interview with Brooke Larpent
For many of our people, working in the mining sector means managing the significant distances between office and client projects. The experience of working FIFO for field work, combined with the experiences of the working environment for career development can be an advantage.
Based in our Perth office, Brooke Larpent is an Electrical and Instrumentation Designer at Tetra Tech Proteus, supporting our clients manage their plants and electrical projects. For her career goals , it is all about balance; managing her employee wellbeing and continuing her career journey in this exciting, yet challenging field. Here she shares her insights into her move from FIFO to Drafter.
Brooke, tell us a bit about your background. What got you interested in pivoting your career from electrician to designer?
I began my career as an electrician, with past roles working FIFO (fly-in fly-out) in the mining industry as a fixed plant maintenance electrician. While FIFO work is rewarding, it can be challenging in trying to maintain life balance. My goal going into a FIFO role was to only do it for a max of 5 years, but around 3 years in I started thinking about my next step in my career path.
My focus was to reduce away time and move into a role that was still involved in electrical technology. Originally, I didn’t realise that Drafting was a path I could take because I thought you had to be an engineer for that! Fortunately through my work I connected with a number of Electrical Drafters and they gave me insights into how they expanded their careers into this field.
After that I was given the opportunity to expand my role at Tetra Tech Proteus. It just goes to show how the mining sector is such a diverse and dynamic industry, and that it can really take your career to different places and grow with you. I’m glad I made the leap because I’m enjoying every moment of it.
What was the journey like from electrician to electrical designer?
I feel as though my prior electrical knowledge and site experience has helped me settle into my new role well. Making the change from FIFO to office-based environment was also interesting because I had to take a step out of my comfort zone and find a new daily routine. Overall, it has been a really great fit for me.
On-site or in the office; which do you prefer?
Both have their pros and cons, but ultimately it comes down to one simple fact; when you’re onsite, you’re away from home, and when you’re in the office, you get to go home every night.
FIFO working has its positives but can be challenging, largely because you spend so much time away from your family and friends. You end up making a lot of sacrifices being FIFO, like missing out on birthdays, Christmas and anniversaries. That being said, I learned so much during my time, and it has been great that I can bring those skills and insights with me to our clients here at Proteus.
Connect with Brooke at Brooke.Larpent@tetratech.com