Name: Sam Stephens
Degree and university: Engineering, Borough University
Work Title: Civil Engineer, Atkins
What do you actually do? I work with building construction. On new projects I design facilities for industrial plants and I do assessments on existing buildings for changed use. I manage a team of other graduate engineers and this involves writing reports, and looking at drawings. The project I am working on at present is the design of a new build for one of our clients which is 60 metres by 60 metres – a multi-million pound project. I’m responsible for collaborating with the architects on the total design of the project.
Did you always want to go into engineering? I didn’t have a clue when I was young. But I always loved maths and physics at school and I loved doing practical things so engineering really appealed to me – I wanted to learn stuff I could apply in the real world. I’d like to go on and become Chartered in order to further my career
What do you most like about your job and are there any downsides? I really like creating new things. As an engineer you are always picking up new skills. A lot of what I do requires further analysis, looking at things a little bit differently. It’s great when I get a new problem and have to solve it, and do research and come up with solutions; I think that’s the best thing about my work.
Any work can be boring sometimes and it is frustrating when things don’t do to plan.
What skills do you need to succeed? You have got to be prepared to put yourself out there and talk to people. Quite often people who are interested in maths and physics tend to be more introverted, so you need to get yourself over that hurdle. Also, you need to be able to find the right balance between artistic flair and extravagance.
What advice would you give to graduates coming into this sector? Keep up with your reading about the built environment. Also, even before I went to university I did a year in the industry and I would recommend that to anyone going into engineering. It gave me life experience and boosted my confidence and gave me a link to an employer. You can talk about work experience at interview and it really helped me to grow up.
Do you have anything you’d like to add? Over the next ten to fifteen years there are going to be great opportunities in engineering as there is so much work to be done on areas such as reversal of climate change and how to provide clean water in different parts of the world. You could be working on a project in India or in China. Engineering is going to become an even more desirable skill to have.