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Batool Aljufairi

Batool Aljufairi

Industrial placement student

Expertise

Design, Structural, Water

Location

United Kingdom
Career highlights

Industrial placement year with AECOM, which wasn’t originally part of my civil engineering degree at UCL

Running a civil engineering walking tour along the Thames

Crown Prince International Scholarship (CPISP)

My working day

A day during the placement is totally different to one in university.

At university, it’s a mixture of lectures and group projects.

There are also design weeks where we have no lectures and focus on providing a design or a solution to the project given, such as a bridge or a pedestrian crossing.

At work, it varies based on the type of work the team does.

Generally, the day includes eight hours of work in the office. I go on site visits, which are usually interesting and help put things into perspective.

During the placement, it’s been great to have the evenings and weekends to focus on what I enjoy doing and what I’m interested in learning about.

I travelled, joined Toastmasters, became part of the ICE Graduates and Students committee and attended various events.

I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also a Toastmaster.

I’ve always enjoyed public speaking. I gave my first speech in grade one in the school assembly. Not sure how great that was, but it was the start!

I’ve been a member of Toastmasters International for a few years now. I enjoy training to keep developing my skills.

It’s what gave me the confidence to accept the challenge of running a walking tour about civil engineering along the Thames in London.

My career inspiration

My sister.

Yes, I was fascinated by high-rise buildings and long-span bridges, and still am, but I feel the reason why I chose civil engineering is knowing more about the field through my sister.

The conversations we have during our travels usually conclude that whatever we’re impressed by is somehow a part of what civil engineers do.

What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?

It’s much less intimidating than it seems, because you’re always part of a team.

Within our teams there are always engineers or other professionals with more experience who guide us in the right direction.

We’re also always working with teams from different fields, whose input is invaluable to the work we deliver.

Which civil engineering myth(s) you would like to bust?

It’s all about concrete, hard hats and sites.

Civil engineering is a very broad field.

The work that happens on site and the structures we see is the result of a huge amount of planning, designs, innovations, and technologies, which requires a wide range of skills.

Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?

London Underground! One of the world's busiest transport networks and finest examples of engineering, despite being described as an 'insult to common sense' as an idea.

It was key to accommodating the large numbers in the London Olympic Games in 2012.

Thousands of Londoners go about their business oblivious to it, but can we imagine how moving around the city would be like if the tube never existed?

What about being a civil engineer inspires you?

The feeling that there’s more for me to learn, more technologies to catch up with and use in our field, more that I can do, and another generation of civil engineers to inspire.

Would you recommend a career in civil engineering?

It’s a very broad field.

When studying civil engineering, we develop a skillset which can be applied in various projects and different areas, which include structures, water, transport, aviation, construction, project management, as well as the rapidly evolving digital transformations and applications.

It’s very unlikely not to find an area of interest within the major.

Education

I chose science subjects at secondary school (Year 11 and 12) back home in Bahrain.

When I graduated, I won the Crown Prince International Scholarship, with which I moved to the UK to do A-levels prior to going to University College London (UCL) for my civil engineering degree.

I did further maths, physics and chemistry for A-levels because these were the subjects I enjoyed most.

It’s worth mentioning though that my course at UCL doesn’t have maths or physics A-levels as entry requirements, and extra support is available for students who haven’t done these subjects.

Following a successful internship at the end of first year, I decided to explore the option of undertaking a full placement year.

This wasn't part of my MEng degree and I was reluctant at first.

Writing this towards the end of the placement, I’m very glad that I did it as it’s been invaluable and enjoyable.

I worked in marine engineering, transport and development planning as well as bridges and highway structures.

It’s also been great working with ICE graduates and students committee and supporting the ICE's events during my placement year.