My Life as an Engineer in Australia

I came to Australia January 2013 to study for 6 months. After 2 months, I already new that I could not leave this amazing lifestyle and country. The journey has not been easy, and more than once I have ended up wondering if all the hard work, leading up to the wait, to maybe get accepted or not to stay here, was worth it.

I can honestly say now, 5 years and 1 month after arriving to Sydney the first time that I have no regrets leaving Sweden, only the people I love there. I now have a permanent visa, to stay here indefinitely.

I started working as an engineer in Sydney 2 years ago, which was itself, one great challenge. Getting a job without a visa, without all the rights to stay in Australia, does not give you too many options in terms of work. My first real job, in my profession was as an engineer for a company doing energy and water monitoring for commercial buildings in Australia, UK, Dubai and Hong Kong. While this was not my dream job, it opened up a door to my current position at NettZero, as a Sustainability Manager/Indoor Environmental Quality Specialist. My current position takes me traveling across the outback of Victoria, the rainforest in Queensland and the beautiful landscape in Tasmania. I worked in Government buildings, TV-and- radio recording studios/offices, shopping centers in the middle of nowhere and the tallest buildings in Australia.

Where ever I go I get to interact with different cultures and people. My main responsibilities are assessing office buildings, shopping centers and improve the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning strategies. This is to minimize energy and water uses while minimizing costs and indirectly reduce emissions to meet Australian zero carbon emission targets within 10 years. I assess buildings in Australia using the rating tool NABERS (National Australia Built Environment Rating System) and Green Star. These rating tools assess buildings and give them a star rating (from 0-6 Stars) of their performance. It has recently been enforced by the government, that if any office buildings are for lease or sale, over 1,000sqm, it has to have a NABERS Star Rating. In Sweden there are not many large office buildings over 1,000sqm. However in Australia the cities are influenced by e.g. Hong Kong to be tall and enormous. This also, means fit as many people into the smallest space possible.

One large difference working in Australia compared to Sweden is predominantly the people and the weather. Most Australian’s are friendly and engaging and it helps that there is no snowstorms or dark cold nights 6-8 months a year. But the decision to leave my family in Sweden was the hardest decision of my life. I still do not know if it was the “right one” but I do know that I have had much more challenges to overcome and that it has made me stronger and better as an engineer and as a person.


Michelle and her boyfriend Johnathon

Michelle Tommosgård

– Indoor Environmental Quality Consultant & Business Leader At NettZero I am a 29 year old Mechanical Engineer with a Master of Sustainable Energy Engineering from KTH in Sweden and part University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia. I am Swedish and grew up in Stockholm and have now lived in Australia just over 5 years. I moved to Sydney from Wollongong where I spent 2 years studying, engineering and a extended master thesis (in collaboration with KTH in Stockholm). I also worked as a tutor of engineering and with different research projects in engineering until graduating. I then started working as a marketing and event coordinator at the Engineering & Information Science faculty at UOW. I was in charge of 5 days STEM camp for girls in the age 13 to 17 years. At the camp they got to experience and learn further about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, without having to compete with boys interest in these subjects.

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