Akshaya Anandan is taking the path less travelled and we couldn’t be happier to have met her along the way.

She is our Site Engineer for the South Australian tunnels and bridges maintenance contract. She’s also a star cricketer.

As an Indian national, Akshaya has dreams of becoming a permanent resident in Australia.

Traditional Indian upbringing is very different from Australia, especially if you’re a girl.

“If you’re a girl, you study, get married and have kids,” Akshaya said.

“I wasn’t allowed to play cricket because it’s seen as a man’s sport.”

Akshaya also saw limitations in the degrees she would be allowed to study at university. Industries that would eventually see her work out on the field and get hands on experience was forbidden. She would be limited to desk jobs only.

“What you study is mostly your parents’ choice…my mum chose my degree but she chose the best discipline for me,” Akshaya says.

Living according to tradition wasn’t something that interested Akshaya. She dreams big and aspires to be even bigger.

“When I was in 8th grade, we read a poem from Robert Frost called The Road Not Taken… it just stuck to me…since then I told myself I’m not going to be the same.”

In 2018, Akshaya moved to Australia to study her masters and continue playing the sport she loved.

In 2020, she became our site engineer as part of the DIT contract in SA and our team is willing to do anything to keep her around.

The process to become a permanent resident in Australia is a four-part lengthy process that involves a 10,000 word skill assessment, an Expression of Interest, then an invitation from the Immigration Department and finally an application for Permanent Residency.

Our team in SA, comprising of a representative from People and Culture, the Service Manager, Business Operations for SA, and Akshaya’s manager and supervisor meet on a monthly basis to assist Akshaya in the process.

“When I started this, I had no idea what to do. I approached my manager for support, and he responded by saying the team will do anything they could to support me,” Akshaya recalled.

Currently, Service Manager, Neil Barker and Operations Manager, ITS Drewe Crome is working with Akshaya to ensure her involvement within projects that will enable her skill growth to become a professional Engineer.

“I’ve been with the team for almost eight months. They support you in everything you do, in life and in work.”

Akshaya aims to be in a position to progress her application in February 2022. In the meantime, our People and Culture team continue to work alongside her to set out a plan to ensure she meets that goal next year.

“The team here, they’re the best,” Akshaya says.

“Everything I do, I don’t have to change myself or try to fit in.”

Good luck on your journey Akshaya!