Degrees and universities: MEng Civil engineering (2.2), University of Bristol;
MSc Sustainable management of water environment, University of Newcastle
Job title: graduate engineer at the Highways Agency
"I ENJOY THE FLEXIBILITY: I CAN TAILOR MY
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT TO SUIT MY NEEDS"
Why did you choose a career in transport and logistics?
To start with I am interested in highways. There are links with my degrees, such as environmental issues and sustainability. I used to complain about traffic congestion, and I thought I could make a difference if I worked for the Highways Agency.
What motivated you to apply for this job?
It provides good opportunities for graduates. Although the Highways Agency is a public organisation, it will help me achieve a professional qualification with the Institution of Civil Engineers. Once I have passed all
the exams, I will become a chartered engineer.
Describe a typical day:
It differs from day to day. When I first joined the Highways Agency, I was working on major projects. Then after two or three months I moved to traffic operations. I shadow my line managers and follow them to meetings. I make site inspections to see what’s going on. I also get the chance to meet local people and landowners to explain the schemes we’re undertaking. I’ve been there only four months, but you’d be amazed how many meetings and courses I’ve attended.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the flexibility of the job: I can tailor my training and development to suit my needs. I also like it that you learn a lot, as the Highways Agency provides many courses. You gain transferable skills, such as how to give presentations, and management skills. On the graduate scheme you can move from placement to placement. There is also the opportunity to do a secondment with suppliers or clients to gain experience. In addition, I like the diversity of the organisation; it is very proactive when it comes to new legislation.
What is the most challenging part?
Because it is flexible, you don’t really have a permanent role. Plus, although the Highways Agency has had a general graduate scheme, it hasn’t had a civil engineering scheme for almost 10 years. So I am a bit isolated, although the organisation is recruiting more engineers for the coming year.
What advice do you have for students considering a similar career?
In a big organisation there can be lots of policy, so it takes a long time for things to change. You may feel frustrated, but when you see the end result, that’s fine. You need patience if you want to improve things and make a difference.