“This industry is incredibly dynamic and constantly in a state of change”
I have worked within the engineering industry for over 2 years after moving straight into a Graduate Engineer position soon after receiving my final year results. I am fairly new to Waterman having joined in September, but have settled in well with the Infrastructure and Environment team in Birmingham where I am gaining the experience to become a more rounded Infrastructure engineer.
What made you choose this industry?
I did not develop an interest in Civil Engineering until after I finished my High School exams and my family moved from the Midlands to Weymouth. It was this move that prompted me to join a Sixth Form which specialised in Engineering and Technology subjects and I have not looked back since.
Was it what you expected?
It was much better than I expected! Working in engineering, you can pretty much guarantee that no two days will be the same, and you are constantly in a state of learning. At times it can get quite full-on, but the rewards are worth it when you meet a tough deadline or overcome a difficult problem.
What is the most rewarding about working in this industry?
I would say the most rewarding part of being an Engineer would be seeing your design being applied to a project. There is no greater feeling than knowing your months of hard work have resulted in a finished product that people can see and use every day.
What are the challenges with working in this industry?
This industry is incredibly dynamic and constantly in a state of change. The main challenge is keeping up with standard practice, as we work in an environment where the goalposts are regularly being moved due to factors that often influence design such as environmental issues, sustainability, cost, innovation and health and safety.
What has been one of the most interesting achievements?
I would say my most interesting achievement would be carrying out a total station survey on a gas main bridge over a busy 110mph railroad for SGN in Reading. It was my first time working on a railway project and it was an amazing experience, but also very challenging due to very strict health and safety procedures you have to adhere to whilst operating next to a live track – Network Rail safety officers were constantly watching you like a hawk!
What would you say to others who are considering a career in engineering?
I could not recommend engineering any higher as a career, although my advice would be to think carefully about which discipline interests you the most, as ‘engineering’ in itself is a very broad term. Look into the disciplines (Structures, Infrastructure or Environmental etc.) and figure out whether you would rather be designing in an office or out on site building and getting your hands dirty. Having that in mind can really help to narrow down your specialty.
What do you do to balance your work/personal life?
During the week I like to get home, play some FIFA on the Xbox, and spend time with my family. On the weekend I usually have a few social drinks after watching the footy, and on occasion I will travel up to the Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton to endure 90 minutes of torture, if I am feeling up to it.