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Chartered Engineer (CEng)

Emma Burns CEng MCIHT MIAT

Published: 11/12/2019

Emma Burns CEng MCHIT

HNC Civil Engineering
Level 5 SVQ Senior Construction Management

Roads Manager


What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
My dad was a hydraulic and commissioning engineer which gave me an insight into engineering, then after I worked on the 2G contract in Scotland, I became really fascinated by the variety of skills and different aspects that were involved in engineering. It came across as a career which would keep me mentally stimulated as I would be continually learning.

Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
I am currently Roads Manager for the South East maintenance contract in Scotland. I manage the Structural Maintenance budget, which is approximately £10 million per annum, as well as programming future years’ works. I ensure delivery of all works within the South East contract as well as overseeing designs, designing schemes, traffic management, construction design management, subcontractor liaison, testing results etc.

Can you describe a typical working day?
The day usually includes programming and budget managing, technical design approvals, Construction Design and Management (CDM) approvals, problem solving, updating programmes, issuing subcontractor instructions, organising scheme handovers, attending pre-start and programme meetings, sorting out traffic management layouts and liaising with designers, clients and subcontractors.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
Coordinating a lot of different subcontractors for one night, for different jobs is a challenge. It’s all about communicating between different teams, solving problems and making sure things run smoothly.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
I really enjoy the pressure and feel a great deal of satisfaction when things turn out well, such as when schemes are delivered, and everything goes to plan; more so on complex schemes. Also, being able to drive over your schemes on a daily basis knowing that you have been a part of it makes me proud. I find mentoring staff in their daily duties as well as through their professional qualifications side very rewarding too.

Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
Qualifying as a Chartered Engineer (CEng) through the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) has been the biggest achievement in my career. It took a year to complete all the stages to achieve Chartered status and was a challenging time, but well worth all the hard work. Being a CEng has given me more confidence in my abilities and knowledge in engineering and feel that I am a respected member of a professional organisation. This has also raised my profile in my workplace and my career status in general in the industry.

One of my work achievements I’d like to mention is that I resolved a seven-year on-going drainage problem, from design to construction. It was done in budget, was considered well-executed and completed within two months, which was a very short time scale.

What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
I felt it was the best way to feel I had achieved a certain level in my career. To be accredited by a professional institution was a massive achievement for me. There is no better way to become recognised in the industry.

In what ways has registration benefitted your career?
It has shown other professionals that I have been recognised as being at a certain level in the engineering circle. It has given me help in progressing my career by holding talks that I have gone to and supporting me. It has helped me gain promotions in my workplace, by showing my employer I am serious about my career.

How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
It shows the company encourages their employees and is supporting them to become registered. This also looks good for the company because it shows they have professionally recognised people working for them at certain levels. My company also benefits because my charge-out rate has increased.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
Don’t hesitate, do it.

Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time or what are your future ambitions?
I would like to become a senior manager and learn more about the business side of what I do. I would also like to manage a bigger team.

Do you participate in any other career-related activities, such as mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
I have been assisting others in the company with their Engineering Technician/Incorporated Engineer (EngTech/IEng) applications and I am a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador. I am also a mental Health First Aider at work so carry out sessions when people are in need and help raise awareness through the business.

Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time that relates to engineering?
I have been doing STEM work in schools and helping out at STEM events in the local area. I am currently undertaking a diploma at Derby University in Asphalt and Pavement Studies.




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