Technology & Platforms Manager, Fresh Direct Ltd
Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Mechanical Engineering
He enjoys using technology to solve business challenges, says Avinash de Silva who came to AUT to study a Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Mechanical Engineering and now works as the technology and platforms manager at Fresh Direct Ltd.
“I’m responsible for all the IT systems, teams and hardware for my company. I’m also leading the company-wide digital transformation, and modernising our systems and processes. I do this by analysing our current systems and ways of working, and coming up with a strategy to remove any blockers to growth and mitigate any potential risk.
“I enjoy being able to work with a lot of different parts of the business, listening to their problems, and coming up with ways to solve any issues with technology. It’s an addictive and extremely enjoyable process.”
While he has had a number of achievements throughout his career do far, there are a few things Avinash is particularly proud of.
“I previously worked at Datacom, and am proud of helping Datacom start and grow a new consulting team. That was a pretty awesome adventure. The team is still active and growing today, and has grown to three full-time consultants. Another thing I’m especially proud of is being named as a finalist in the New Zealand CIO Awards 2021 in the emerging leader category. That was completely unexpected but really special.”
The right university environment
For Avinash, the first step towards becoming an engineer was enrolling in AUT’s Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Mechanical Engineering.
“I initially chose to study engineering at AUT because of its reputation for producing graduates who are ‘job ready’, but one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about my studies was how my degree taught me to look at problems and break them down. That’s a way of thinking I still apply every day to my work.”
The community feel was one of the highlights of his time at university.
"I loved the sense of community AUT created, from free feeds organised by the students’ association AUTSA to our sporting teams and clubs. I really enjoyed rowing for AUT and representing the university at the uni games. While I was at AUT, I was also an AUT student ambassador, and it was really awesome to be able to give back to the university and introduce new students to the campus.”
Advice for other students
Having graduated from AUT in 2016, Avinash has some great advice for other students.
“My advice would be to work for people who take an active interest in mentoring and developing you. If you find companies that focus on upskilling and growing their people, then you’ll thrive as a working professional.”
His other piece of advice is simple: ask questions.
“Stay curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Being new to a business and not knowing how or why they do the things they do is not a disadvantage; it’s a chance to test assumptions and re-examine processes.”