Sue Kershaw encourages young engineers to work in different cultures

In the latest of our Inspiring Engineers series of talks, Sue Kershaw told young engineers about the challenges and the highlights of her own career spanning 30 years and covering everything from the Olympics to the Jubilee line extension, and working abroad.

Young engineers hear from Sue Kershaw
Young engineers hear from Sue Kershaw

Getting the chance to work in Bob Geldof’s property was just one of many highlights in a 30 year career in the industry, KPMG’s Sue Kershaw told the packed audience at the latest Inspiring Engineers talks.

Kershaw, currently KPMG’s UK Head of Infrastructure Programme and Project Management told the room of young engineers about the joy of working on large-scale projects, and the feeling of community this brought. Urging those present to go and work overseas, she spoke of her own experiences in Thailand, and said the chance to work outside of the UK would not only enhance their careers, but would also be an opportunity to experience new cultures and different working environments.

Kershaw has worked on some of the most significant transport projects in the UK over the past twenty years, including the Jubilee line extension at Canary Wharf station, HS2, and transport delivery for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The transport delivery team at the Olympics was one of Kershaw’s career highlights. Working as Deputy Director of Transport, Kershaw explained the rationale behind the successful project delivery was working backwards from the date of the Olympics, to ensure each milestone was reached – the project had to be completed in time for the Olympics, but Kershaw’s dedication ensured the project went across the finish line in record time.

In addition to this, the collaboration between all stakeholders was essential, and crucially, an agreement on what the purpose of the project ensured a successful delivery. Planning for the Olympic transport delivery involved seven years of planning, and 300,000 stakeholders consulted.

Asked about what made a successful project, Kershaw told the audience that big projects, like the Olympic transport delivery, was down to running each project as a business.

But it was also down to personal relationships too, arguing that "soft skills are rock hard." Offering advice to future leaders, she said that if you build your own business, success will stem from selecting a diverse group of people as the different skillsets would enable successful teams.

Come along to the last of this year’s Inspiring Engineers' sessions, where senior industry leaders speak about how they made it in their career. Given in an informal setting, the events encourage attendees to ask the questions they have always wanted to ask and share their own experiences of the industry.

The next Inspiring Engineers talk is on 3 November 2017 with Matt Kuhn, Programme Director TEAM2100, CH2M & Vice Chair, ICE London who will speak on 'Diverse teams make the best teams’

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