Name: Sally Walters
Degree and university: MEng (Hons) Civil Engineering from the University of Nottingham
Job title: Senior Civil Engineer
What do you actually do?
I am a Chartered Civil Engineer working in the Water and Wastewater sector of Engineering. My employer Pell Frischmann Consulting Services provides Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Environmental and Process Engineering design services to the client for all major engineering projects. As Project Manager I am responsible for ensuring that our design teams deliver projects on time, to budget and to quality.
What skills do you need to do that?
You need to be enthusiastic and logical; have a good understanding of project delivery; be patient as well as eager to get involved in solving problems.
How did you know you wanted a career in engineering?
I always had a keen interest in the Sciences and appreciating how things actually worked. I have always wanted to understand the reasons why things work and how they might be improved. I think a fundamental part of being an engineer is being naturally inquisitive and wanting to look for logic and solutions. When I was 17 I attended a WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) field course at Birmingham University and realised the extent of the different forms of engineering that were available and the possible opportunities that Engineering could provide. Engineering can be a fantastic career, which is rewarding, fulfilling, challenging and constantly changing.
What would you like to be doing in ten years time?
In 10 years time, I would like to be a director in an Engineering Company (maybe my own) as well as working part time on my charity work. I am currently involved in a couple of charities that provide Engineering support to developing countries. Ideally in
10 years, I would like to have established and be working on my own Charity helping to provide Hydroelectricity in countries like Nepal.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job has to be the great sense of satisfaction and reward when you manage to solve a problem and produce a good design solution which will improve/provide benefits for people, society and or the environment. It can be such a great sense of excitement and reward to see a project through from the feasibility stage, sketching a solution in pencil, through the design of the project to the final construction of the design on site.
And the worst?
I have to say the worst thing about my job, but one I am getting used to is the smell! I work with sewage a lot… so it can be rather smelly and messy, but you get used to it!
What advice would you give new graduates who want a career in engineering?
I have been involved with STEMNET and the IET for several years promoting Science and Engineering at all different levels of education from Primary School children to University Graduates. Last year I was lucky enough to be awarded the Young Woman Engineer of the Year award 2009 from the IET. The award recognises the achievements of
female engineers in their careers, but also in their role in promoting engineering. I think the advice I would give to new graduates wanting a career in engineering would be to do their research. Don’t be put off if you look at engineering and think it is only yellow coats, hard hats and steel toe cap boots, or lab coats. Look into the different fields of engineering and if you can imagine doing it, then there is probably an engineering job available for you in that field.