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Giulia Cerè

Giulia Cerè

project manager, EDF


Project Management, Construction, Digital


United Kingdom
My highlights

Becoming a chartered engineer in Italy

Completing a PhD with a focus on seismic engineering and machine learning

Working on Hinkley Point C, looking after a scope of approximately £70m of value

A day in my life

I arrive onsite at Hinkley Point C at around 8am. I spend about 30 minutes reviewing my action tracker and briefing myself on the target activities for the day.

I spend most of my days in several meetings on a variety of topics, ranging from engineering management to commercial.

Working within the delivery team, my goal is to drive progress on my contracts from design to manufacturing, and eventually, delivery and installation onsite.

To do so, I interact with the in-house design teams for nuclear and conventional islands in France, with the site teams as well as the suppliers, also based in France.

Occasionally I wear my personal protective equipment (PPE) to assess ongoing activities in specific site areas.

I tend to allocate the last 30 minutes of the day to review my action tracker for the following working day and to reflect on progress.

By nature, I find that civil engineers are interesting and curious people, given their exposure to a variety of topics.

Which individual project or person inspired you to become a civil engineer?

My father in the first instance.

As a kid I used to spend a lot of time in his office and helped him folding drawings, making photocopies or just doing my homework while he was working.

His sharp intelligence, pragmatism and passion for the discipline triggered my interest for civil engineering.

Later on, when I was in high school, my father took me with him to a conference about civil engineering and sustainability.

One of the speakers was a female civil engineer who worked all across the world and even collaborated with the Dalai Lama.

Her work deeply inspired me.

I reached out to her and asked her what studies she’d done and if she could advise me on how to follow a similar career path.

Many years after that, I unfortunately forgot her name, but I sometimes wish I could email her once again to thank her for having been such an inspiring figure and a key player in the decision making for my current career.

We asked Giulia…

I would recommend a career in civil engineering because…

…it’s deeply empowering to be part of something concrete (no pun intended!) that evolves from conceptual to tangible.

What’s the biggest/most complex thing you’ve made out of Lego? How long did it take you?

A Lego orchid that it’s now forming part of my Lego Botanicals collection.

It’s perhaps not the most complex of Lego structures, but I was fascinated by the resemblance of the Lego orchid with the natural one.

I was genuinely excited and impatient to build it and I managed to complete it in one session of about two hours.

Complete this phrase: I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also…

…an eager reader. I love exploring quirky and old bookshops to find something new to read.

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

Working on a project such as Hinkley Point C, I feel empowered and honoured to have the opportunity to contribute towards reducing the carbon footprint of energy in the UK.

It’s inspiring and thrilling to watch every day how construction onsite evolves.

The magnitude of the HPC site is majestic and intimidating, but in a positive way.

Seeing almost ten thousand people onsite everyday working towards the same goal and collaborating to make it happen represents something special to me.

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

Early on my in my career, especially before moving to the UK, I’d always been under the impression that my professional life would be limited to the technical aspect of the role.

Rather, since joining the Hinkley Point C project, I’ve discovered that my previous technical experience provided me with the tools to undertake engineering management tasks and to cover such roles.

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

I would’ve loved to contribute to the design of the Pantheon at the time or the Roman Empire.

It’s apparently a simple structure, yet it features numerous innovative solutions from the material use (e.g., light concrete made with volcanic tuff) to a self-standing compression dome with an oculus at the top.

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

Quoting one of the popular myths on civil engineering from the ICE website: “Myth 4: engineers are boring, and so is civil engineering”.

Most people picture a civil engineer as someone undertaking complex calculations all day.

Rather, the discipline is so diverse and thrilling.

Every day you may face a different challenge which will drive your curiosity and will to learn.

By nature, I find that civil engineers are interesting and curious people, given their exposure to a variety of topics.

What motivated you to become professionally qualified? 

I find that as a chartered professional I can contribute more effectively towards mentoring and hopefully inspiring younger professional interested in pursuing a similar career.

I hope that I can help them overcome similar challenges to the ones I faced by sharing my experience and lessons learned.

Also, with the goal of evolving into a project manager, I wished to consolidate my civil engineering experience to date as – in my view – the title of Chartered Engineer represents the professional ‘cusp’ of what a professional could aspire to attain in this field.

What does being professionally qualified with the ICE mean for your career?  

The CEng professional qualification will enable me to mentor other people with similar professional aspirations.

Also, it will enhance my professional profile and credibility as a civil engineer, demonstrating experience and capability of engineering judgement when decision making is needed.

What’s the best thing about being professionally qualified with the ICE? 

I find that the CEng professional qualification is recognised from a global perspective and known as highly prestigious.

How did the ICE and your employer support you to become professionally qualified? 

I’m extremely grateful to my employer for having supported me through this pathway by acknowledging the prestige of this qualification and by providing mentorship.

What do you value most about being an ICE member? 

I personally find that the ICE provides excellent online and in-person training on any discipline linked to civil engineering.

The format is highly accessible, engaging and always interesting.

Also, the ICE team is incredibly supportive and they have kindly supported me on a variety of matters.

How has being a member helped your career? 

As an ICE member I managed to pursue my chartership, which represented a significant professional milestone to me.

Anything else?

I’m very passionate about sports.

My core activity is martial arts: I started practicing Kung Fu at the age of eight, then transitioned to Muay Thai about seven years ago.

I also love swimming, skiing and snowboarding.

On a different note, I also enjoy reading, writing and spending time in the outdoors hiking.

Recently I also got involved with an Italian organisation which organizes trips to promote awareness of environmental and ecological causes.

I’m now working towards planning one for Scotland next year.

Giulia's career path

My background is highly technical with a specialisation on seismic engineering and machine learning as part of my PhD.

Working on a nuclear power station, I’m planning to undertake specific training in relation to different types of reactors while pursuing continuous development on broader civil engineering matters.

As part of my role as project manager, it’s also key I undertake regular training on commercial topics.

Major projects

The most significant project I've had the privilege to work on during my career is without doubt Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station.

I've been involved in the project for almost four years to date and worked across a series of areas from nuclear to conventional islands, covering a variety of roles and eventually growing into a project manager position.