A university degree can only take you so far. It's a competitive market out there and building some practical start-up capability is a good thing.

Andrew WalkerFounder of Fleet Engineering

When UWA graduate Andrew Walker founded Fleet Engineering two and a half years ago, he never imagined that the path would lead back to campus.

I was invited to a breakfast hosted by the Innovation Quarter (IQ). A really interesting event and at the end they asked the room for our ideas on all things innovation and engagement. Not one to miss an opportunity I mooted the idea of a partnership with UWA where our start-up would operate from campus in return for teaching, tutoring and other collaborative services.

Andrew's the first to admit he didn't rate the chances of his idea turning into a reality, but through IQ's Rob Shannon a deal was brokered and Fleet Engineering moved in to the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the beginning of this year.

Fleet Engineering specialise in helping fleet managers and business owners use technology to improve safety, reduce emissions, reduce costs and manage a mobile workforce. Essentially we develop the software that the industry can use to make their operations more efficient and cost-effective.

All of the team are UWA graduates, and they're working at the cutting edge. These are people who could work for Google or Facebook, so it's great to keep them challenged at a local level where they can contribute back into the UWA and Perth communities. And the fact that they have the opportunity to translate their academic success into the commercial world is great for them.

One semester in, the Fleet Engineering team are doing their best to get involved in everything they can on campus and are always looking for ways they can add value. While direct teaching within ECM is one way we can contribute to UWA, there are other types of collaboration we hope can benefit students. For example next semester we'll have four interns from a variety of disciplines come work with us. We're also looking to work alongside students and researchers in developing commercially viable software technologies.

Andrew says that the Fleet Engineering team especially hope to help students gain insight into what it means to work with industry and translate great ideas into viable business ventures.

A university degree can only take you so far. It's a competitive market out there and building some practical start-up capability is a good thing. There's a lot of money in Perth that's looking for a good home and with the government's current focus on innovation it's a great time to be in computer science and technology.

There's a tremendous amount of talent within UWA and it's great to have the opportunity to be part of it.

Contributed by
Jennifer Letts:
Communications Manager, UWA Government and Corporate Communications
UWA graduate's start-up leads the field.

UWA graduate's start-up leads the field.