HoneywellIndigenous Engineering Scholars

Honeywell Indigenous Engineering Scholars

Through the commitments made within our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2018 – 2020, the Honeywell Indigenous Participation Program (IPP) provided five Honeywell Engineering Scholarships in December 2019 in collaboration with the Aurora Education foundation. This is a national program run annually. The Engineering Scholarship is aimed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander University Students who are studying Computer Science or Engineering.

Additionally, on the 19th of November 2019, we offered two Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander internships, providing real work experience that provides students with opportunities to explore their interests and develop professional skills and competencies. These internships were based in our Victorian and New South Wales offices, and finished up in mid February 2020.

We have been fortunate to encounter such diverse talent and we were able to spend some time with selected scholarship recipients and interns to ask them a series of questions relating to their interest in engineering and personal views when it comes to reconciliation. Please read their responses below.


Matthew Heffernan is a proud Luritja, Irish man. The traditional lands of the Luitja people, also known as Kukatja, are immediately west of the Derwent River in the Northern Territory.

Matthew is currently studying a bachelor of Information Technology at the Charles Darwin University and will be graduating at the end of this year.

The Indigenous Participation and Early Careers Team regularly engage with Matthew to find out how he is going on his journey and to further explore potential opportunities that exist within Honeywell. We have also assigned one of our Honeywell graduates as an Industry mentor for Matt.

What is it about engineering that interests you?
There is a clarity and zen to the simplicity of engineering (specifically software engineering in my case). When I’m coding, the answers are comparatively simple, there isn’t as much nuance to be concerned about, code isn’t as complicated as people or geo-political issues. I also like the process of creating. There is a kind of beauty in using the knowledge and skills you have acquired over the years to create something that solves tangible problems and issues for other people.

What are your future career goals, and would you consider Honeywell as a future employer?
My future career goals is to pursue some further study and upskilling. I would like to continue learning and growing as a software/web developer and learn about ways in which I could maybe work abroad and travel.
I would definitely consider Honeywell as a future employer for the above reasons, as a large corporation they offer a variety of services and products and have offices around the world with fair remuneration rates.

What does reconciliation mean to you?
Reconciliation is a complex topic and has the propensity to upset a lot of different folks when discussed honestly and transparently. To me, it’s about pushing through these feelings of discomfort and shame or even anger and frustration. Because essentially, we all have something we can learn from each other. In the context of a broader social and political ideal, it’s about recognising that our country is at it’s best when everyone gets to have a genuine opportunity to have a go.

Is it important for you to work for an organisation that has a RAP and if so, why?
I am familiar with RAPs and believe they are only as important as the organisation’s willingness to adopt the recommendations and aims within the RAP. This includes an honest approach to how success will be measured as well as accountability for when those goals aren’t met.


Clayton Small is a proud Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) man. The Kamilaroi nation is of vast expanse, lying within northern New South Wales (NSW) and southern Queensland (Qld), stretching from as far as the Hunter Valley in NSW through to Nindigully in Qld and as far west as the Warrumbungle Mountains near Coonabarabran in NSW, sweeping across the Liverpool Plains.

Clayton is currently studying a bachelor of engineering (Honours Aerospace) at the University of New South Wales.

The Honeywell Indigenous Engineering Scholarship was awarded to Clayton in December 2019. Since then, the Indigenous Participation and Early Careers Team have kept in regular contact and assigned an industry mentor to reach out to Clayton on a monthly basis. We are also very excited to welcome Clayton into one of our 2021 internship positions, based in our New South Wales office.

What is it about engineering that interests you?
I love the challenging aspect of creating and improving solutions in engineering. Being able to work with more experienced engineers also interests me as you can learn so much and improve by working with others.

What are your future career goals, and would you consider Honeywell as a future employer?
During my internship with Honeywell, I would like to gain industry experience whilst still at university. Upon completing my degree, I would like to establish my career in a respectable company such as Honeywell. From there, I would love to gain further experience, possibly working internationally.
Yes, I would consider Honeywell as a future employer. Honeywell’s industry leading involvement in several areas of engineering and their commitment to social responsibilities such as the RAP cements them as a world leading company, and one I would like to work for in the future.

What does reconciliation mean to you?
Reconciliation is the acceptance of what has happened in the past, learning from mistakes, and ensuring they do not happen again. It is also a path moving forward together, as we cannot change the past, but we can learn and improve for the future.

Is it important for you to work for an organisation that has a RAP and if so, why?
A RAP is a plan that promotes inclusion and diversity within an organisation, increasing cultural awareness and creating education, employment, and career opportunities to support Indigenous Australians.

I think it is great that an organisation has a RAP as it demonstrates their recognition of the past and commitment to promote and improve opportunities for Indigenous Australians. It is not critical for my future employer to have a RAP, however it is certainly a bonus.

Maxwell Hooper identifies as a proud Aboriginal descendant. Unfortunately his mob is unknown which can be a common issue due to a number of complicated and historical reasons including dispossession of land, stolen generations and apprehension to identify and release this information onto family members as a part of assimilation practices and fear of discrimination. Currently, Maxwell is residing on Tuangurung land in Seymour.

Maxwell is currently studying a bachelor of engineering (Honours Advanced Manufacturing & Mechatronics) at RMIT.

We were very pleased to welcome Maxwell into the Victorian office as a first year Intern – Project Engineer, during 19 November – 28 February 2020. It is safe to say that he enjoyed the experience as he will be returning as a second year intern in 2021. During the internship Maxwell was awarded with a Honeywell Indigenous Engineering scholarship. He has also been aligned to one of our graduates to provide additional support as a work buddy.

What did you do during your internship (3 sentences, what did your day to day routine look like)?
During my internship I worked within the areas of sales, service, and projects, leaning towards sales and projects more. My day to day routine would often be working with employees, helping them out with minor tasks to help make the big picture easier to achieve. I also worked on a couple of solo tasks where I would communicate with employees to keep track of my progress.

Describe your biggest achievement as an intern?
Biggest achievement would have to be lighting plans that I marked out for various floor levels for a commercial building Honeywell were working on. I received an introduction to edit the floor plans and was acknowledged well for competently completing the task.

What is something you have learnt about yourself over your internship journey?
During my time with Honeywell, I was advised that the business was going through a significant amount of change, but I didn’t really notice. What I learnt during this time is that I can get work done and perform in a wide range of environments. I realised that I possess the ability to multitask, focusing on the task at hand and listening when the time is right.

What is it about engineering that interests you?
The biggest area about engineering that interests me is design. Whether it be developing a product schematic or editing layouts. I would like to end up in a career where I can take a bit of creative control over making objects.

What are your future career goals, and would you consider Honeywell as a future employer? If so, why?
I foresee a future career in manufacturing and designing industry. I am not sure if this will take me through various roles, but I would also like a stable position. I think Honeywell would be great place as a future employer, the working environment is great and the areas of industry that Honeywell are involved with at a projects level are of interest to me.

What does reconciliation mean to you?
Reconciliation has two meanings, ‘the action of making one view or belief compatible with another’ and ‘the restoration of friendly relations’. For me in perspective of Australia’s democratic hierarchy, I think it means acknowledging the Indigenous people’s differences and similarities in a respectful manner that sees them given the same opportunity to lead life as an Australian citizen.

Is it important for you to work for an organisation that has a RAP and if so, why?
A RAP is a business’s vision to connect with the Indigenous community around them. Focusing on outcomes, inclusion and connectivity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations, Honeywell in this case.
I think it is highly important as it helps bolster a business’s ethical image to the larger community. It can also act as an incentive for other businesses to engage with one another with the interest being in areas such as cultural diversity rather than net income per se.