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Dimple Parmar

Dimple Parmar

Site engineer apprentice, Laing O'Rourke




United Kingdom
My highlights

Being awarded a Dean’s Commendation at University, all while balancing work and studies

Seeing the projects I’ve worked on come to life

Achieving EngTech status with the ICE and working towards IEng

Why I chose an apprenticeship

I couldn’t justify taking the traditional route and missing out on an opportunity like this.

I had actually applied for the traditional university route and received offers from really good universities, and I personally never really considered an apprenticeship.

Studying and getting a degree was very important to me.

But, when I came across a degree apprenticeship, which meant I could get a degree from a Russell Group university as well as gain experience, it was hard to justify going to university as a full-time student.

I knew I always had the option to go to university if all went horribly wrong, but I never looked back!

I’m a civil engineering apprentice, but I’m also... a female engineer.

Working in a male-dominated industry and seeing myself, and other females, progress – it’s proven that there is space for females in construction and engineering, and the industry is all the better for it!

A day in my life

Every day is different from the next, being a site engineer.

The balance between being on site and in the office varies, especially with the project I’m currently working on where it’s weather-dependent.

On site, I need to ensure that everything is ready to go for a productive and smooth day ahead.

This includes setting out (translating design to physical space), carrying out quality checks, looking out for all things health, safety and environmental, and liaising with suppliers and the different teams.

In the office, I need to prepare for upcoming works by writing methods and procedures, reading drawings, researching and ensuring materials are “cubed up” and ordered in.

I also need to ensure that all records are up-to-date.

It’s important in both the site and office environment to ensure everything is accounted for, as small hiccups can have knock-on effects in production.

We asked Dimple…

What would you say to anyone considering a civil engineering apprenticeship?

Go for it, because there’s really nothing to lose. The prospects for civil engineers are so extensive that there’s something for everyone – people who like to be outdoors a lot, like problem-solving, like maths, and even for those who hate maths.

I think that the skills you develop as a civil engineer, particularly on the job, prepare you to be resilient and hard-working, which is highly regarded in any industry.

The highlight of my apprenticeship is …

Looking at where I am at just 20 years old and thinking “if I didn’t take this opportunity, I wouldn’t have all this practical knowledge that I do now, I wouldn’t have the network that I’m already building, and I certainly wouldn’t have the experience I do now”, and so much more.

It’s the fact that I can gain this experience as an engineer, but also be a university student alongside it while I get my degree. I’m able to spend two weeks on campus (pre-Covid-19) in Exeter and experience the “uni life”, go to lectures and go out with friends from my course. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

What about being a civil engineer apprentice gets you out of bed each morning?

Knowing that each day comes with a new challenge.

I’ve never had two days that look the same, tackling the challenges and taking on opportunities for development that come to me each day gets me out of bed every morning!

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

How much engineers are involved in all aspects of projects.

Being an engineer is more than maths and setting out on site, it’s working with other disciplines to bring a project together and to ensure it runs smoothly. It’s liaising with the health and safety function, commercial function, planning function, quality function, environmental function, and so on, to get a holistic view and incorporate all the aspects to produce your best work.

Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust.

That a site environment is no place for a young female.