Master of Engineering course helps Simon grow boyhood dream into career

Published:21 January 2020

Simon Wagner's career has flourished thanks to CQUni's Master of Engineering course.

Simon Wagner’s dream of becoming an engineer was first planted on his family’s grain farm in Emerald, and it has now grown into a fully-fledged career, thanks to CQUniversity’s Master of Mechanical Engineering.

Now based in Perth, Simon’s journey to Engineering has been a long, but rewarding one and he’s now teaching what he knows while studying a PhD with CQUni.

Having watched his father work tirelessly on the farm during his childhood, Simon decided early on that he wanted to become an engineer.

“We lived quite close to the Gordonstone Coal Mine and at night I would see the lights of the drag line operating. I would see that the people working in the mines had a much better work-life balance,” he said.

“I did a work placement with the local council in Year 10, in which I got to do some design work using AutoCAD. This is when I discovered engineering. I was told the pay was good and that it opened many doors to go higher. It was also a good match for my natural abilities.”

Simon first studied a Bachelor of Engineering in the 1990s and then progressed into the Master of Mechanical Engineering.

“Back then courses were not available remotely, so I attended the lectures, and these were the best way to complete the degree,” he said.

“The training was very good, particularly the Master program which I completed at CQUni’s Centre for Railway Engineering (CRE). The CRE was a great place as it was industry-focused and had a great atmosphere in which to develop oneself.

“The Master of Mechanical Engineering taught me how to solve complex problems and develop new ideas and concepts. It taught me how to research and learn new skills and gave me the confidence to step into new fields that I knew nothing about.”

After completing his Master of Mechanical Engineering, Simon has worked for Aurizon, BHP, Worley Parsons, Fluor and ThyssenKrupp.

“I was never really concerned about whether I worked in the regions or in the city – I have always been more focussed on working for a good company with good career progression,” he said.

“Studying and working was a challenge as I also had a family to support and it took me almost two years to put myself in a position where I can fully focus on my PhD.

“I was working at ThyssenKrupp, completing my PhD and doing casual teaching at CQUni.  Thankfully everyone has been very flexible and supportive during this busy time.

“If you enjoy problem solving and developing and building things, engineering is a great career, with opportunities, career progression and good pay in Australia. It’s also a career that you can continue to work as you get older.

New and prospective students who plan on studying the Master of Mechanical Engineering at CQUniversity Rockhampton this year may be eligible to apply for a Destination Australia scholarship, valued at $15 000 per year of study. For more information, visit