I graduated with my MEng in Engineering Science in 2008. I really enjoyed my 4 years at Oxford, rowing for Hertford’s first VIII, socialising and expanding my knowledge of each engineering discipline. Civil Engineering has always been my focus, particularly as I was sponsored by Hyder Consulting throughout my course and undertook placements each summer.
Such placements helped to put the theory I was learning into context and also allowed me to secure permanent employment at the end of my 3rd year placement, making revision for 4th year finals considerably less stressful. While my friends were balancing revision periods with trips away for interviews, I could devote all my energies to maximising my results, safe in the knowledge I would be gainfully employed in September, despite the looming credit crunch.
Since working full time for Hyder, my career has been interesting and varied. I work in Hyder’s Warrington office in their rail team. My time has been split between designing bridges and major stations. Luckily although the financial crisis effected construction deeply, rail investment has never been higher. So I have been regularly whisked off to London to bid for Crossrail Stations, develop construction methodologies for London Bridge Station and work through the night when preparing commercial models for HS2 work packages.
Working nearer to home I have designed long span composite footbridges, strengthening works to historic viaducts and provided various “access for all” structures (ramps / bridges / tunnels) which help increase the ease of access to the railway.
In my first year I was lucky enough to be a finalist for the New Civil Engineers Graduate of the Year competition, and was also third in Hyder’s equivalent national competition. I have also been constantly involved in the Institution of Civil Engineers. Firstly as a regional “Chair’s Apprentice”, then as the chairman of Cheshire Branch. Becoming a student member of the ICE is definitely recommended, not least because of the sponsorship opportunities and extensive library texts available.
Most recently I was elected Chairman of the whole ICE North West region (the youngest person to do so for some time). In these roles I have been able to organise lectures about projects on the cutting edge of the industry and promote the career to young people. I also had to deliver 10 minute speeches at dinners (pictured), represent challenging employment issues at national meetings and promote ICE schemes such as the “This is Civil Engineering Campaign”. This is a scheme to erect banners with QR codes which advertise to the public what Civil Engineering is and provides further information about what to the public might just look like some traffic cones and a trench.
I am clearly enjoying my career and am really enjoying my work and seeing the impact it makes on the general public. I sat my professional review and became a Chartered Civil Engineer in 2013. Since then I have been one of the lead designers on the stunning Manchester Victoria Station redevelopment and have designed several bridges with only limited supervision. At one point there were 5 sites and building structures I was involved in. It doesn’t get more exciting or rewarding than when huge teams of contractors start building your designs and you get to find out whether your ideas work in the real world. Your success and your oversights will be there for all to see for the next 100 years. What a job!
I loved my time studying engineering at Oxford and am enjoying even more putting those lessons into practice on (or in) the ground.