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Incorporated Engineer (IEng)

Aoife Campbell IEng MICE

Published: 18/06/2024

Education and qualifications:
BEng Civil Engineering, Queen’s University Belfast

Job title:
Senior Civil Engineer






What/who inspired you to become an engineer?
I had little knowledge of engineering at school. I had progressed to my A levels thinking about dentistry, but it was only after results day that I really sat back and thought about my options. I secured a place at Queen’s University Belfast, but it was my placement year at Lagan Construction that really confirmed my desire to pursue a career in the field.

Please describe your role within the workplace.
I am a Senior Civil Engineer in the Highways and Active Travel team in AtkinsRéalis Belfast. I am currently working as a design manager on a Cycling Infrastructure Framework with Gloucestershire County Council, taking Active Travel infrastructure schemes from concept design through to construction.

What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
The most challenging part of my role is the pace of change throughout the project, with regard to other project interfaces, commercial decisions, stakeholder considerations, political issues or otherwise, but this keeps the role interesting and means that I am always learning and adapting.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your role?
I appreciate the challenges mentioned above as it means I am constantly growing, both personally and professionally. Working in a team environment with my colleagues, clients and stakeholders inspires me as I am constantly absorbing information from others. I am also motivated by the ethos of the Active Travel work in which I am involved to help create healthier, sustainable neighbourhoods and cities.

What is the biggest career highlight or achievement you’re most proud of?
While I feel lucky to be part of the dynamic, impactful world of civil engineering, it was not a considered plan and really luck or chance! I feel a responsibility to educate the younger generation so that they can intentionally consider civil engineering as a career. I therefore put a lot of effort into STEM work and was most proud to be named the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Northern Ireland STEM Ambassador of the Year 2023.

Why did you choose to become professionally registered?
The opportunity to be part of a recognised group of engineers who support each other in being responsible for engineering a safe and sustainable world around us, is a prestigious one. I believe that being registered will support me in being the best engineer that I can be for the duration of my career.

I would recommend professional registration because…
The feeling of becoming professionally qualified is worth it, if only for the personal satisfaction of your professional growth and the confidence to progress beyond. The process of professional registration really helps you break down and understand the processes of engineering decisions and better equips you to navigate situations and decisions throughout your career. It also provides a network of people and resources to support you.

What career advice would you give to your younger self?
Do as much work experience as possible during your schooling years. It’s so important to end up in a motivating career that you love but it’s difficult in school to see the connection between subjects and work. The more work experience you undertake the easier it is to really understand what you might enjoy and allow you to pick the GCSEs, A levels and apprenticeships or degrees to help you get there. Part-time work, sports and other group activities can also really help build your personal skills that will benefit you in your career, so make the most of the spare time you have when you’re younger.

Do you participate in mentoring, volunteering, or membership of other engineering groups?
I am a STEM Ambassador and mentor younger staff in my office as they progress through their Initial Professional Development with the ICE. However, I am not officially registered as a mentor, and I intend to register this year.

If relevant, please list three favourite projects you have worked on.
• While working in Liverpool with Amey Consulting, the foundation of my enjoyment for detailed design and construction of Highways and Active Travel projects was born while working on the Sustainable Transport Enhancement Package (STEP).

• In New Zealand, I was proud to be involved with BECA on the Let’s Get Wellington Moving preliminary design to improve sustainable transport on Wellington’s most important commuter route. It was on this project that I really started to appreciate the inter-disciplinary engagement, including stakeholder engagement and how all aspects of the project feed the gradual transformation of the scheme through the project stages.

• I am really fulfilled by my current role as Design Manager on the Gloucester City Centre Cycle Spine. The scheme aims to provide a higher level of service for all modes of sustainable transport through Gloucester City Centre, connecting to the wider cycle route to Cheltenham. Through this project I have really been able to draw on my experiences from other projects over the last 8.5 years, while adapting to the new challenges that come with working in culturally sensitive, urban environments with high quantities of utilities, stakeholders, archaeology etc.