Austin Chaplin

Austin Chaplin

Senior civil engineer, Amey

Country United Kingdom

Specialisms Design, construction, project management

Career highlights

A day in my life

I’m part of the Civils Infrastructure team within Amey, based in the Sheffield Office. I’m predominately office-based, undertaking highway design for local authority, Highways England and private sector clients, but also attend sites to undertake NEC supervisor roles when required.

In addition to my daily job role, I’m a STEM ambassador to raise awareness of civil engineering within schools and colleges. More recently, I’m a mentor with the ICE to develop engineers towards their professional qualifications.

A day in my life involves problem solving. Every project or scheme is like a puzzle, and as an engineer, it’s my job to solve it.

My career inspiration 

I’d have to say my father was the one who inspired me to become a civil engineer.

During the school holidays, I’d join him at work, travelling miles up and down the country on all the motorways.

There were many times that we’d be stuck in roadworks and it was an opportunity to watch new roads, bridges, etc, being built.

I fell in love with the idea of being part of it all, and from that point on never looked back. I know that at my ICE certificate presentation ceremony he’ll be the proudest man there, and I have him to thank for inspiring me to be the engineer I am today.

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I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also ... a role model. There’s a major shortage of engineers within the industry, and with the population rising, the increased need for infrastructure is evident.
If I can inspire just one young person to become an engineer, I will feel that as a Charted Engineer, I’ve contributed to society.

Austin Chaplin

Senior civil engineer, Amey

What I love about being a civil engineer (that I didn’t know before I became one)

There’s rarely one correct solution to a problem. It's amazing that within a team of engineers of different ages and experience, they all have a different take on an engineering conundrum. As an engineer, I don’t think you ever stop learning.

The civil engineering myth I’d like to bust

Why is civil engineering deemed a masculine industry? My own view is that we should drop the word “engineering”, as it’s often associated with traditional engineering jobs where you “get your hands dirty”. If we were to call it civil design, which doesn’t sound as masculine, would it attract a more balanced male/female demographic?

I’d recommend a career in civil engineering because

A career in civil engineering is one of the most rewarding careers one could be involved in. Every decision that you make as an engineer can change the world we live in for the better, and when you see your designs implemented on site, you get a sense of pride and ownership that no one can ever take away from you.

By the end of my career, I’ll be able to look back at all the projects I’ve been involved in, and each one will tell its own story that has changed the way we live our lives and go about our daily business.

The project, past or present, I wish I'd worked on

I’d have to say a motorway. It’s extremely rare that a new motorway is built in the UK these days, and as a highways engineer, it would be the true test of my engineering knowledge and technical competencies.

What gets me out of bed every morning?

I love my job that much that I live by the saying: “If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Every day, a different challenge is presented at work, and as an engineer, the excitement and anticipation of being part of decision-making motivates me on a daily basis.

The personal hurdles civil engineering has helped me overcome

It’s enabled me to be more confident within myself, as my day-to-day job requires constant communication with clients, stakeholders and the like.

My favourite projects

Highway Design Engineer – A585 Norcross Roundabout Detailed Design Highway

Assistant NEC Supervisor - Tinsley Link BRT - Construction of a new link road in Sheffield

Assistant NEC Supervisor - Narrowing of the existing carriageway on West Bar, Snig Hill and Bridge Street in Sheffield, turning carriageway into SUDs to regenerate the area to attract business opportunities within the area.

Lead Designer & NEC Supervisor - Narrowing of the existing carriageway on Exchange Place, Exchange Street and Castlegate in Sheffield, turning carriageway into SUDs to regenerate the area to attract business opportunities within the area.

Education

I followed the higher education route into engineering (school, sixth form, university).

However, if I could do it all again, I would’ve left school at 16 and joined the industry as an apprentice, as I’ve learnt more on the job then I ever did from being at university.

The most complex thing I’ve made out of Lego

When I was a child, LEGO was not as advanced as it is today, therefore I’d spend hours and days building housing estates on the large, grey Lego base.

I think it was at that point that I had an appetite for construction.

I want to become a civil engineer.

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