Helen MaCadam

Helen MaCadam"I studied Engineering Science at Wadham, specialising in Civil and Mechanical engineering and graduating in 2009. In my final year I attended a careers talk by an engineering company, which inspired me to work in the rail industry: I liked the idea of being able to contribute to an industry that provides a valuable service for the whole country. In that respect it has not let me down, and I get a lot of motivation from the fact that doing my job well will directly affect thousands of people’s journeys.

In September 2009 I started the Network Rail Engineering Graduate Scheme: it lasts for up to four years during which time you undertake a series of 6-9 month placements in the areas of the company that interest you. I started by learning the basics in a track maintenance depot at Clapham Junction - one of the busiest sections of the railway in the country. I then worked as a Project Engineer for the construction of the new Borough Viaduct near London Bridge station, before being seconded to the main contractor to work on the same project as a Site Engineer for 9 months. In September 2011 I moved into Structural Asset Management and spent 9 months working on the management and assessment of railway bridges. I am currently on secondment to EIM Rail (a European representative body based in Brussels) as a Technical Adviser for Interoperability. I coordinate groups of technical experts who work on the development of European interoperability standards amongst other things.

For me, the best thing about engineering on the railway is never knowing what challenge you will face next. Every day is different, but what stays the same is the fact that if we stop doing our jobs the trains will stop running!"