Nikunj Patel

Nikunj Patel

Project Manager, WSP

Country UK and Kenya

Specialisms Design, construction, project management, structural

Career highlights

A day in my life

I start the day with a good cup of coffee. Catch up on emails, which brings about the opportunity of new challenges and collaboration with clients and external stakeholders. I’m very keen to assist everyone in the office, so I tend to be in meetings with discipline leads internally, trying to find solutions that are challenging my current project, the A12 Chelmsford to A120 widening project.

My career inspiration

My dad. It’s in our veins. My dad’s a construction site manager in Kenya. I’ve seen how my dad has tried to improve the life of the community while in charge of projects, and I’d like to follow his footsteps.

“​‌

I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also  ... a STEM ambassador. I enjoy helping others and showcasing how vital civil engineering is to improving life.

Nikunj Patel

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

Being a positive mental health champion at work made me realise how vital health and safety is, and how it important mental health is for everyone in the industry.

Also, I learnt about the need for more women in engineering. As a STEM ambassador, I strive to highlight the importance of diversity and open discussions such as ‘do you think that you need to be a boy to work in the construction industry?’

The civil engineering myth I’d like to bust

There are many… to name a few: it’s all about maths, or you have to have a beard to become an engineer, or even that it’s a male-dominated profession!

As civil engineers, we try and improve the basic life of others and the community. That’s our primary focus. There are various ways to do this, and it’s not just with maths; and there are some excellent female civil engineers.

The ICE and the construction industry are doing a fantastic job to increase awareness and diversity to include people from all races, religions and sexes to become engineers.

I’d recommend a career in civil engineering because

There aren’t enough words to say why I'd recommend a career a civil engineering, because it’s very interesting and fun. You can follow your own career path, and you choose what you want to become, ranging from a water engineer to highways engineer.

Being a civil engineer means improving the basic needs for the community. Growing up in Kenya, I saw how civil engineering improved our lives, by giving us access to clean water and good transport links.

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

The Golden Gate Bridge! At the time of its opening in 1937, it was the longest as well as the tallest suspension bridge in the world. I would’ve loved to be a part of the team that provided solutions to the challenges of constructing the bridge.

What gets me out of bed every morning?

Working with design team in the office. Collaborating and developing solutions to overcome complex situations.

My major projects

Design:

Hillside – Poynings – West Sussex

141 Kingsway – Hove - East Sussex

107 Marine Drive - Brighton East Sussex

Ocean Spa Plaza - Gibraltar

Project management:

Chelmsford to A120 widening project

M271/Redbridge roundabout upgrade project

Education

I went to primary and secondary school in Kenya, studying O-Levels in Kenya before moving to the UK to do A-Levels at Guildford College. I went on to study civil engineering at Portsmouth University.

After graduation, I worked in a small consultancy as a structural design engineer, where I gained knowledge of technical and practical aspects of engineering.

I then became professionally qualified with incorporated status.

My hobbies

I enjoy playing cricket and badminton. I also help in community projects wherever possible.

The most complex thing I’ve made out of Lego

I made model houses from cardboard when growing up. I’ve always been intrigued by how things come together.

I want to become a civil engineer.

See how your studies lead to a civil engineering career

The job you end up with in civil engineering is likely to link back to what you studied at school, college or university. Here you can see your options at any age.

Studying at school

Up to 16 years

School / college

15-18 years

College / university

18 years +

Change career

Any age