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Emma Towle

Published: 22/01/2018
Route: Higher National Certificate (HNC)

Name:  Emma Towle IEng MCIHT
Education and qualifications:  Graduate Diploma in Civil Engineering 2010, HNC Civil Engineering 2006
Which Institution(s) are you a member of? Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT)
Current job title: Incorporated Civil Engineer
Company: CH2M
Length in current job: 10 years
Approximately how many staff are employed by your company?  > 1000
Where are you based?  Glasgow 

Please describe your current role:
I am an Engineer in the Highways Department of CH2M in Glasgow. I have been working here for ten years and have moved up the career ladder as I completed various qualifications during this time. I am currently working on a few projects, including some design work for the Highways Agency and completing a number of final consultations on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route. 

What inspired you to choose engineering as a career?
I completed a National Diploma in Land Administration in college after High School. It was a bit of a mixture of surveying, architecture, contracts and engineering. I really loved this course and it provided me with opportunities to pursue a wide range of careers. After college, I worked for a surveying company in Northern Ireland for a few years before moving to Scotland. Within a few weeks of moving to Scotland, I started my career in engineering.

Please provide a brief outline of your career so far:
After moving from Northern Ireland to Scotland at the age of 20, with a background in AutoCAD and digital mapping, I took up a position as Junior Technician at Atkins. I studied Civil Engineering on a day release basis over the next four years and gained an ONC and HNC. Shortly after this I moved to CH2M where I continued my studies and gained a Graduate Diploma in Civil Engineering, which provided me with the level of qualification I needed to achieve Incorporated Engineer status (IEng).

Have you worked on any unusual or high profile projects?
For the past few years, I have been working on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral and this project formed the main basis of my IEng presentation. I also worked on the A75 Dunragit Bypass, which was nominated for a Saltire Award for Environmental Sustainability. 

What spurred you to work towards registration as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng)?
As my career progressed through a non-traditional education route, I felt it was important for me to gain IEng status to define myself as a professional engineer and also achieve a widely recognised standard.

How did you become registered as an IEng?
At the time when I decided to work towards my IEng I had a number of colleagues who were going through the same process and several who had recently passed their own professional reviews. This meant I was able to get guidance and advice from a variety of people with different backgrounds and knowledge. In addition, my office has a monthly mentoring group which runs presentations and meetings on a variety of different topics with the key aim to help people attain the required objectives for professional qualifications. I attended numerous events and lectures run by the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) to further my knowledge and add to my continuing professional development (CPD).

I also have a professional mentor who provided valuable assistance and guidance when I was writing my submission, and the Project Managers from the key projects I have worked on gave me mock interviews. 

Over the years I have had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects and various disciplines within highways and transportation and this provided me with the experience and confidence I required to sit my Professional Review Interview for IEng.

How has professional registration as an IEng benefitted your career?
Since I passed my IEng I have been promoted. I also feel that other staff now look up to me and seek guidance and advice from me. I have been mentoring a graduate and an apprentice which has been going really well.

What advice would you give someone considering professional registration as an IEng?
I would tell them to go for it but to not rush it. Take your time working through your submission and ensure it is the best it can possibly be. Make use of your friends and colleagues. Don’t be scared to ask for help as I am sure most people would be more than willing to assist someone through this process.

It is incredibly rewarding when you pass. I felt a great sense of achievement and I am really proud of myself. I even have my certificate framed and on my wall at home. 

What is your employer’s attitude towards professional registration?  Were they supportive?
My employer was incredibly supportive throughout the process, as were all of my colleagues who assisted me. 

How does your employer benefit from you being an IEng?
It is great for the company’s reputation to have high numbers of professionally registered staff and this can only be of benefit when bidding for work. 

What are your future goals?
I want to develop my career into Project Management. I feel I would fit incredibly well into this type of role and that it would be an excellent way for me to fulfil my potential. I am also currently looking into becoming a Chartered Manager through the Chartered Management Institute having recently been made aware of their partnership with CIHT.