Working as part of a project management team
Working towards Incorporated Engineer status (IEng MICE) with ICE
Getting career help from two mentors, courtesy of my employer, Arup
I choose to do an apprenticeship because...
I wanted to be able to gain real life experience developing my practical capability whilst enhancing my theoretical knowledge through classroom training.
When I did a work placement at a local engineering firm (Regent Engineering) a senior engineer told me to be a “good” engineer you need to have an appreciation from the bottom all the way to the top. This is something which has stuck with me ever since. An apprenticeship would allow me to come into an organisation and learn the basics correctly before progressing up the corporate ladder having that solid foundation and understanding of the basics.
When you're working on a project, no two days are the same. You are always pushing your designs further.
The idea that one day I'll be able to drive down a road which I designed is something I find so exciting.
A typical day in your life
A typical day for me can be summarised with one word, collaborating. Working with others is at the centre of a typical day for me, often I will be working with other disciplines to deliver a highways project. This could be speaking with the geotechnical team discussing solutions for a new earthwork or working with drainage to understand their needs and how this can be accommodated within my highways model.
The majority of my day is spent working on specialist 3D design software developing highway designs which have multiple uses. If I was in the office no day would be complete without a few trips to the tea bay to catch up with colleagues.
We asked Elliott…
What is the highlight of your apprenticeship so far?
My highlight to date has been working as part of a project management team. The reason being that I was able to gain a new insight into the world that is civil engineering.
It is very easy to focus on the task at hand and forget the bigger picture. This project allowed me to see the bigger picture, especially in terms of finance and dealing with people. As ultimately with any civil engineering project you are dealing with people, whether that be your team, client or the end user all of these individuals have different needs which we as civil engineers need to balance effectively.
What would you say to anyone considering a civil engineering apprenticeship?
The one key bit of advice I would give to anyone considering a civil engineering apprenticeship is research projects which you find exciting. Once you understand what it is which interests you the next steps become easier as you can research into that discipline and apprenticeship opportunities within that sector.
As part of your apprenticeship you’re working towards a professional qualification with ICE – could you tell us more about this?
Part of my level 6 apprenticeship requires me to work towards a professional qualification, for me this is working towards Incorporated Engineer status (IEng MICE) with the ICE.
This requires me to record evidence of project work I do, linking it back to key engineering attributes set out by the ICE. My employer Arup have supplied me with two mentors who support my journey to becoming professionally qualified, by reviewing evidence I submit. Achieving IEng MICE will help me progress in my career massively as I will have a globally recognised qualification which demonstrates my competence as an engineer.
Which individual project or person inspired you to become a civil engineer or technician?
The project which inspired me to become a civil engineer was the Pont De Normandie. The reason being was that I was on a family holiday in France and I remember seeing this bridge from miles away, and just thinking to myself how does that bridge just stand there so tall and not fall over? This then sparked an interest in me to learn more about other projects and the why and how of other projects.
Complete this phrase: I’m a civil engineering apprentice, but I’m also …
Human. Often people think of civil engineers as these number crunching robots, however we are human and a lot of what we do focuses on people.
What about being a civil engineer apprentice gets you out of bed each morning?
The fact that every day is different. When you are working on a project no two days are the same, you are always progressing pushing your designs further. Also the idea that one day I will be able to drive down a road which I designed is something I find so exciting.
What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?
The opportunity to change the world. As civil engineers we have a responsibility to look after the world we live in, through careful considered sustainable projects we work on. This was never apparent to me just how much of an impact you can have on the world, no matter how big or small it may be to you it can make all the difference to someone else.
Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust.
That you need to be good at Maths and Physics. I was told at school that to do engineering, I'd need A level Maths and Physics, so naturally I believed that and ran with it. However, since working in the industry for 4 years I have hardly used maths or physics other than at my university course. Engineering is more about managing people and expectations in a sustainable way.
Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?
The 2012 London Olympics.