Education and qualifications:
MEng in Civil Engineering, Design and Management, The University of Dundee
What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
My best subjects at secondary school were Technology and Design, Mathematics and Physics. I come from a rural background and always wanted to have a hands-on career. My father is a civil engineer and having been exposed to this working environment as a child I got the impression it would be something I would thrive at.
Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
I work on construction projects that usually last for a year or two. As a site agent, I am responsible for the management of works in my section of a project. I am involved with planning, commercial management, health and safety management, and quality, as well as managing a team of engineering staff to complete the works.
Can you describe a typical working day?
Currently on site, my works are approximately 50% in the office and 50% on site. I am heavily involved in planning, monitoring how works are going, problem solving and ensuring the works are constructed as per the design.
Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
Time management and working with such a mix of people would be a challenge, however it is one which I really enjoy. I love working in a fast-paced environment with a lot of different things going on.
While gender would be the instant first thought, throughout my career on site I have become very capable of dealing with anyone with any issues regarding gender.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
The feeling when a large piece of work is completed, for example completing a complex length of pipework or building a large concrete structure gives a great feeling of achievement. Being praised for good practice and the good work that we do is a great feeling too.
Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
Achieving Chartered status while working 12-hour days three hours from civilisation (or what I class as civilisation) on a wind farm, has been my biggest achievement so far.
What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
Having finished university, it was clear to me that the next step was to work towards becoming Chartered. I enjoy studying and continually furthering my knowledge, so this was a great way to do so. Achieving registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng) is recognition of my ability and the experience that I have gained during my career.
In what ways has registration benefitted your career?
Having the title of Chartered Civil Engineer has improved my career prospects and has given me the recognition I feel I deserve. It has also given me the authority that is often hard to obtain from certain people, based on my gender.
How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
Having more Chartered Civil Engineers is very beneficial particularly in contracting, as many companies have not historically pushed for employees to work towards Chartered status. Having more Chartered Engineers provides more suitable candidates to put on both tender and Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) submissions.
Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
The work which is involved may appear daunting, but it is worth every bit of it. The feeling of achieving Chartered status, being recognised for your dedication and hard work, is brilliant.
Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time or what are your future ambitions?
In five years’ time I see myself as a successful and efficient project manager, running my own project in the construction industry and managing a great team of enthusiastic engineers and work force.
Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time that relates to engineering? For example, do you participate in mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
I am a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Northern Ireland committee, and I also help out at Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) events to encourage more people into the industry.