Experts in dealing with loads of stress – Naval Shipbuilding College

Experts in dealing with loads of stress

Friday, August 28, 2020



Structural Engineers play an important role in the safe design of vessels


Structural Engineers are responsible for the design, review and evaluation of components which support or carry a load (weight) to ensure the structure is safe, stable and fit for purpose.


They review and analyse blueprints, compute load pressures and help ensure projects are being constructed following the correct design specifications.


Donal Gallagher started as a Structural Engineer with Naval Group Australia in 2020.



Overview of your role


As a Design Authority (DA) Engineer, I am responsible for design studies for various structures for the Attack Class submarine including the compliance to technical standards and requirements. There are numerous structural aspects which can include the pressure hull and internal structures.


In my role, I am an integrated member of the Naval Group France Design Team in Cherbourg, France.


I work in a multi-disciplinary team and hence, interface with naval architects, designers and engineers from other departments. I am mastering the structural submarine design elements and will return to Australia as a Subject Matter Expert.



How did you get to where you are today?


My interest probably started in primary school where I designed and built new Lego creations almost every day. In high school I selected subjects that allowed me to prepare for Year 12, as there were certain prerequisites for university entry into engineering.


At university I studied Mechanical Engineering for four years and I completed a work experience program in the Naval Defence sector (prior to my final year of study) and without really knowing at the time, this was the commencement of my engineering career.



What do you love about your job?


The people I’ve met and the opportunities to work with talented and knowledgeable experts in their fields.


I’ve also loved the opportunity to work on both the Collins Class Submarine Program, which involved upgrade projects for the Collins Class Submarines from concept designs to full implementations on the platform, and the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer program, which involved AWD Sea Acceptance Trials and various weeks at sea, testing and activating equipment and systems.


Why did you choose a career this field?


I’ve always enjoyed drawing and design work and asking the questions like why and how? I don’t believe education ever really ends and in engineering I am always learning new skills and gaining knowledge which keeps it interesting and engaging.



Where do you see your career in 5-10 years?


I returned from France with a lot more knowledge and design skills and I plan to lead a dedicated team constructing the Attack Class Submarines with Naval Group Australia and continue to build my skills and experience.



What is your advice to others who may be considering a career within naval shipbuilding?


Do it! Especially women – get involved. Engineering is reputed as being a male-dominated industry, but that shouldn’t deter anyone at all. Australia is getting behind our Naval Shipbuilding Industry, so there is job security and many opportunities to follow a career path that is exciting, engaging and fulfilling.



If you are interested in learning more about opportunities in Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Industry, join the national Workforce Register so we can connect you with one of our Candidate Engagement Consultants for your confidential career conversation.

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