He may have been the first person in his family to go to university, but Jack Durkacz is now delighted to be following his dad into the energy sector.
The 23-year-old impressed bosses at CNR International so much during his university placements that he secured a job there before even completing his mechanical engineering degree at the Robert Gordon University.
Mr Durkacz, from Findhorn, always knew he wanted to a job where he could put his interest in maths and science to use every day.
The former Forres Academy pupil, who has graduated with distinction, said: “I saw engineering as a good way of encompassing all my academic interests and also the stepping stone to a career of real-world problem solving as an engineer.
“My father worked as an ROV supervisor in the industry and by doing some research I saw the potential for a career dealing with difficult problems and large-scale projects.”
CNR placement invaluable
During his first year, Mr Durkacz secured a scholarship from CNR International which has offered not only financial support, but a mentorship.
Through this, and thanks to the support of senior engineer Gavin Mann, he landed three summer placements which he described as “crucial” to his development as an engineer.
He has now landed a job as a graduate subsea engineer at CNR and said the skills he picked up from his course and placements have enabled him to make a “smooth transition from student to graduate”.
Time at university is ‘what you make it’
Like the rest of the Class of 2021, Mr Durkacz’s final year was disrupted by the pandemic.
But he was determined not to let that get in the way of his ambitions, and won the school of engineering’s prize for academic performance. He was also part of a group that gained funding from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for journal publication and presentation at an international conference.
Mr Durkacz said his accomplishments were down to RGU and said it could not have been better in preparing him for lifelong career.
“Academic areas are tailored for potential use in your career, but I feel it’s the other skills RGU develops that prepares you for the workplace,” he said. “For example, RGU develops people skills through multiple group projects, project management modules and even a final year group dissertation for masters. These experiences of dealing and working with others teaches the importance of teamwork and how it ultimately leads to success.”
For those starting university in September, Mr Durkacz said: “Ultimately your time at university is what you make of it, but it helps having a university like RGU opening doors and providing you with opportunities to better yourself.”
To see the Robert Gordon University Graduation list 2021, click here.