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Bianca Wheeler

Bianca Wheeler

Construction engineer, Jacobs

Expertise

Environmental Management

Location

United Kingdom
Career highlights

Awarded QUEST Technician Plus scholarship in 2019

Promoted to construction engineer while completing apprenticeship

Receiving Technician status with ICE in 2018

A day in my life

I work full-time for Jacobs on the Thames Tideway project in London, on the construction team of two of the central sites.

My role as a construction engineer consists of regular site visits, where I carry out quality, health and safety and progress inspections on the current works taking place, and reviewing the various documentation required for upcoming works on site.

I work closely with our main works contractor, FLo, on various issues that arise, both on- and off-site, to come to an agreed solution.

It’s difficult to pin down a ‘typical’ day.

I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also an advocate for promoting gender diversity in the field of engineering

My career inspiration

At the age of 16, I completed a week of work experience on Crossrail at Tottenham Court Road in London.

I vividly remember going down into the numerous underground floors of tunnels and connection passageways and being so fascinated and curious how this was all possible.

This is what inspired me to become a civil engineer.

Bianca Wheeler on site.
Bianca Wheeler on site.

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

Civil engineering is a career that can take you all around the world. I knew before that you could move to a different country to work, but never quite understood the large scale of opportunities and project roles that exist, particularly in the civil engineering industry.

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

You need to be good at physics to be a good civil engineer.

This is something I was told as a student going into my A-levels.

I quickly learned when studying civil engineering at college and university, along with having industry experience, that this was a complete myth.

Yes, principles that stem from physicists’ work and theories are present in engineering, especially when working in design, but this is more about structural mechanics rather than quantum physics and such that you learn in A-level physics.

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

Gotthard Base Tunnel

What about being a civil engineer inspires you?

To me, civil engineering is all about improving the quality and efficiency of people’s everyday lives.

For example, the project I’m working on now is improving the water quality of the River Thames, a vital asset for the city of London, which is currently in a poor environmental state.

Knowing that the work I do and the sites I work on are all contributing factors to improving lives is what gets me out of bed in the morning.

Would you recommend a career in civil engineering?

Civil engineering is such a diverse career, with so many different pathways and opportunities.

In construction, every day is different and problem-solving skills are a must have.

Civil engineering is linked closely with most aspects of our everyday lives and so demand for work in the sector is always present across the entire world.

Education

A-Level Maths, Product Design

BTEC Level 3 Construction & the Built Environment

Level 3 NVQ – Civil Engineering Technician

Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship, Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, Kingston University, London

Work experience on Crossrail (during year 12)

1 year with the central engineering team on Tideway

2 years with the central construction team on Tideway

Hobbies

I volunteer with a local group and the Samaritans charity to help provide mental health support and guidance to youth groups and across social media.

I’ve also been part of numerous charity activities, such as sky diving and Tough Mudder, to raise money for various mental health charities, such as Young Minds.