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Kaveesha Fernando

It’s fascinating to understand the design of transport systems overseas and how we can take those learnings and apply them in Auckland

Kaveesha is a Graduate Engineer working in our infrastructure team in Auckland. As a kid, Kaveesha enjoyed trying and learning new things, whether playing sports or spending time with family and friends. His father, a civil engineer, would show him bridges and roads he designed, and Kaveesha was always ready to ask questions. As he got older, his passion for people and his curiosity for the world around him brought him to civil engineering, where he discovered he could help design cities built for everyone.

Kaveesha best aligns with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal is number eleven, ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities. Learn how Arup is helping Kaveesha create a pathway to his purpose:

Why did you choose the Arup graduate programme?

I was researching engineering firms, and I came across Arup’s work on Auckland Light Rail and how they showed how AI could help improve the efficiency of the rail design. This use of technology piqued my interest, so I applied for the vacation programme in my second last year of university. I found the Auckland team supportive and inviting during the vacation programme, so I came back as a grad. I liked the non-hierarchical structure and the ability to take on more responsibility. There were also many opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in different countries and learn about how other countries design.

What do you get up to in your day-to-day role?

I enjoy the pace of work on large projects and working with people making decisions for the future of transport in New Zealand. Every day is a new opportunity to learn, and often I’m learning from people from the UK, Americas, and Europe. It’s fascinating to understand the design of transport systems overseas and how we can take those learnings and apply them in Auckland. I’ve mainly worked in a design coordination role and civil, structural designer. Recently, I’ve asked for the opportunity to learn rail design and have been lucky enough to be exposed to this as well. The Auckland office’s social atmosphere is always full of energy, and I am glad that I’m working with a great bunch of people. I also enjoy the firm’s flexibility to work from home and travel for new opportunities.

What has been your most enjoyable moment/project so far?

My favourite project is working on Auckland Light Rail, where I was appointed design coordinator for the project. I’ve learned about the different disciples that go into a big project like this. I’ve also improved my soft skills like teamwork and communication with internal and external companies. So, it’s surreal to think I’m working on the project that first attracted me to the firm.

What are your future aspirations?

In the future, I want to help the city of Auckland be sustainable and inclusive for all people. I want to continue learning from designs and people worldwide and help bring that knowledge and innovation back home. Ultimately, I want to help our cities be safe and resilient for the future, and transport is a big part of that. So, I’m excited about the future, and I’m confident that Arup will help me create a pathway to my purpose.