ExpertiseDesign, Construction, Water
ICE President's Future Leader 2022/23
Working on-site on the North London Heat and Power Project as an NEC 4 supervisor for 12 months
Attending the Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival 2022, developing solutions to promote inclusion and diversity within the water industry
A day in my life
Each day can be different from the previous.
Since graduating and starting my professional career, I’ve worked in the design office and on site, with both offering different experiences.
In the design office, I spend time working on design drawings, writing reports and in meetings with colleagues discussing projects.
Taking an idea and turning it into a design, and then a drawing is really rewarding.
On site, I would be out with the contractor, carrying out inspections and witnessing testing to ensure that the works were being carried out correctly.
This was a great way to learn about how things are built.
It also allowed me to get to know lots of people and this is very beneficial when trying to find my feet in the first few months.
I'm a civil engineer, and I'm also a hillwalker, DIY-er, and a football and tennis fan.
Who inspired you to become a civil engineer?
I was always interested in building and being practical.
However, what really got me into civil engineering was the Engineering Education Scheme that I participated in 2014.
This is a scheme which brings together students and businesses to look at real life issues in a fun but constructive way.
I got to go out on site and drill some cores from one of the bridges on the A1.
I then got to test the core at Newcastle University using a large press, the same press I went on to use many times during my degree.
To this day, I can see where I drilled into the bridge piers to get samples and it has given me great satisfaction pointing them out to friends when driving past.
We asked Blake…
I would recommend a career in civil engineering because …
…as a civil engineer, you’re able to make a positive impact on some of the biggest issues that society faces. We engage with clients and the public to ensure that the solutions we develop are sustainable and beneficial to all.
This is very rewarding and allows you as a civil engineer to be proud of the work that you do each day.
Civil engineers are at the forefront of providing communities with the essentials such as clean water, energy, and efficient transport systems.
I would recommend civil engineering because you’re able to be involved in a variety of projects of different scales and disciplines, and this helps to your job to remain interesting and engaging.
Each project is different to the previous, all providing varying challenges which allows you to broaden your knowledge and experience on a daily basis.
What’s the biggest/most complex thing you’ve made out of Lego?
I played with Lego a lot when I was younger.
I can't quite remember the biggest thing that I built. However, I remember trying to construct a tower taller than my siblings.
It was all in the foundations!
What about being a civil engineer gets you out of bed each morning?
Overcoming complex problems that results in a positive impact to society, no matter how large or small the problem may be.
By solving problems and making a difference to society, you get a great sense of pride from the work that you do each day, and this makes getting out of bed to go to work easy.
What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?
The number of different people that you get to work and interact with on a daily basis.
Projects don’t just involve engineers and construction workers.
You get to work with people from all backgrounds, and this allows you to develop your own understanding and view of projects and the world.
Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?
As someone who works in the water industry, it would be difficult for me to overlook the London Sewage System constructed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette in the mid to late 1800s.
The sewage system made a big impact for the residents, helping avoid another Great Stink (1858) and significantly reducing outbreaks of cholera and typhoid following completion.
Due to the forward thinking of Bazalgette, the system was designed for future expansion of the London population, and this has allowed the system to continue to serve London to this day.
Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust.
That civil engineering is all about concrete and steel.
While these materials are very common in everyday design, there are many other materials that we use in our projects.
As we continue to develop sustainable solutions, the use of alternative materials will become paramount if we are to reduce embodied carbon in our infrastructure projects.
DIY, mechanical systems, Newcastle United supporter, tennis enthusiast, snooker.
London sewer system
Create a sewerage system that channels it away from central London
Blake's career path
- After GCSEs, I studied Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics at A-Level and Economics at A-S Level.
- I then went to Newcastle University where I studied Civil Engineering. During my second year, I switched from BEng Civil Engineering to MEng Civil and Structural Engineering after gaining a strong interest in the structural aspect of civil engineering. I did a summer placement at a local structural engineering consultancy.
- Since graduating and starting my career, I have undergone various training, including NEC 4 Supervisor Accreditation, software training and health and safety training.