‘The idea that one day I’ll be able to drive down a road which I designed is something I find so exciting’
Why did you choose an apprenticeship in civil engineering?
I chose to do an apprenticeship because I wanted to be able to gain real life experience developing my practical capability whilst enhancing my theoretical knowledge through classroom training.
When I did a work placement at a local engineering firm (Regent Engineering), a senior engineer told me to be a ‘good’ engineer you need to have an appreciation from the bottom all the way to the top. This is something which has stuck with me ever since. An apprenticeship would allow me to come into an organisation and learn the basics correctly before progressing up the corporate ladder having that solid foundation and understanding of the basics.
What’s a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me can be summarised with one word: collaborating. Working with others is at the centre of a typical day for me. Often I will be working with other disciplines to deliver a highways project. This could be speaking with the geotechnical team discussing solutions for a new earthwork, or working with drainage to understand their needs and how this can be accommodated within my highways model.
The majority of my day is spent working on specialist 3D design software developing highway designs which have multiple uses. If I was in the office, no day would be complete without a few trips to the tea bay to catch up with colleagues.
What have been the highlights of your apprenticeship?
My highlight to date has been working as part of a project management team. The reason being that I was able to gain a new insight into the world that is civil engineering.
It is very easy to focus on the task at hand and forget the bigger picture. This project allowed me to see the bigger picture, especially in terms of finance and dealing with people. As ultimately with any civil engineering project you are dealing with people, whether that be your team, client or the end user all of these individuals have different needs which we as civil engineers need to balance effectively.
As part of your apprenticeship, you’re working towards a professional qualification with ICE – could you tell us more about this?
Part of my level 6 apprenticeship requires me to work towards a professional qualification, for me this is working towards incorporated engineer status (IEng MICE) with the ICE.
This requires me to record evidence of project work I do, linking it back to key engineering attributes set out by the ICE. My employer Arup have supplied me with two mentors who support my journey to becoming professionally qualified, by reviewing evidence I submit. Achieving IEng MICE will help me progress in my career massively as I will have a globally recognised qualification which demonstrates my competence as an engineer.
Which individual project or person inspired you to become a civil engineer or technician?
The project which inspired me to become a civil engineer was the Pont De Normandie. The reason being was that I was on a family holiday in France and I remember seeing this bridge from miles away, and just thinking to myself how does that bridge just stand there so tall and not fall over? This then sparked an interest in me to learn more about other projects and the why and how of other projects.
What would you say to anyone considering a civil engineering apprenticeship?
The one key bit of advice I would give to anyone considering a civil engineering apprenticeship is research projects which you find exciting. Once you understand what it is which interests you the next steps become easier as you can research into that discipline and apprenticeship opportunities within that sector.