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Kishore Ramdeen

Kishore Ramdeen

Assistant Service Delivery Manager, Highways England

Expertise

Design, Construction, Project Management
Career highlights

Being the first graduate in Highways England to shadow the chief Highway Engineer

Building Woolwich Crossrail Station with Balfour Beatty

Being Vice Chair of the ICE London Graduate committee during ICE 200

Kishore's working day

Travel across London and out to Guildford where our [Highways England] offices are; check in with my team either face-to-face or via Skype. Communication is so important, so I always try to make it the first thing I do. It’s an opportunity to share updates on the projects we’re managing, discussing things that could go wrong (risks) and things that can help us complete the project (opportunities).

Each day varies; some days I could be attending meetings with project managers to review designs; or meeting with my team to check that we’re staying within our budget. Other days I could be approving documents for construction or writing progress reports for our bosses.

After work, I often play sports; whether it’s playing football with my colleagues or doing some solo training for triathlons in the summer months. Physical activity helps me not only manage my physical health but also my mental health, as it helps reset my mind, refocus and re-energise me ready for the next day of challenges.

I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also an active STEM ambassador and an endurance sport enthusiast! This means I like taking part in endurance sport but I’m not serious enough to be an athlete.

My current passion is triathlon, which requires lots of training and discipline. I think I enjoy it so much because it’s quite like civil engineering, in that it is a constant challenge and it makes me push myself to achieve the end goal. The added bonus of endurance sport is that it helps you keep a fit mind and body, so you’re always ready for new challenges.

Kishore's career inspiration

Unlike many of my colleagues, there wasn’t an individual project or person who inspired me to get into the civil engineering.

Honestly, I fell into engineering by picking civil engineering from a careers book because it sounded the most interesting of the courses applicable to me.

I ended up spending four years at university, which convinced me it was an industry I wanted to be a part of. It’s only since being in industry and having had such amazing opportunities that I’ve realised how wide-reaching civil engineering is and how many inspiring people there are; both young and old who are changing the lives of people every day through their relentless passion to make things better for communities and society.

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

I originally thought that civil engineering was just about buildings and structures; that you had to be interested in how structures were made and be good at doing complicated mathematics.

It was only when I started working in industry that I learnt civil engineering is so much wider that just structures. I was really glad of this because, I was OK at complicated mathematics, but definitely not the best, and I really wasn’t that interested in structures.

So, it was great to find out that civil engineers can decide to become a specialist in many areas; such as water, power, roads and railways, or decide not to specialise in anything and become knowledgeable in as many areas as they wish.

In fact, history will show you that many of the historically famous civil engineers were not only civil engineers but mechanical engineers, too.

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

A civil engineering myth I’d like to bust is the idea that it’s a masculine career path.

Yes, it’s a very male-dominated industry, but this is purely a result of how our society had historically been arranged.

Over the last 10 years, the way our society views engineering has changed, and we now understand that diverse teams produce better results. So now, we see much more women and younger people entering industry. And no, they don’t have to all wear high-visibility clothing to be engineers.

You can now work in the civil engineering industry and be part of teams that have a 50:50 split male to female, and never have to wear high-visibility clothing your entire career!

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

The Olympic Park in Stratford, East London.

At the time of construction, it was one of the biggest, most expensive and technical challenging engineering projects in Europe. The project brought together the best minds of the engineering and architectural worlds to design and build an Olympic Park worthy of hosting the London 2012 Games.

They were not short of challenges on this project, the main one being that the entire location was heavily contaminated from years of dumping industrial waste.

The project pushed the boundaries on sustainability and collaboration, cleaning, recycling and reusing 95% of the previously contaminated land in construction and rallying all the contractors to make sure everything was ready for the opening ceremony!

They managed to not only build an amazing location for the Olympics but also left a lasting legacy of sport and opportunity for investment, which has in recent years really taken off.

What about being a civil engineer inspires you?

I get out of bed every morning feeling energised because I know that the work I’m doing every day is developing me as an individual, delivering an objective for my organisation and positively effecting the communities and society that I work in.

I know that my job aligns with my moral compass and it makes me feel good when I’ve done something to benefit others. I also know that almost every other day I’m likely to encounter something new, that I either need to understand, overcome or contribute to. This keeps me on my toes and is definitely something all other civil engineers can relate to.

Would you recommend a career in civil engineering?

I would highly recommend a career a civil engineering because it’s just so much fun.

Every civil engineer that you meet will almost always say they enjoy working in engineering. This is because the majority of the work we do is challenging; and it brings an immense feeling of satisfaction, achievement and pride when you finally complete it or figure out the solution to the problem.

We also know that everything we design, and build will not just benefit society now, but will improve the lives of people for many years into the future.

The civil engineering industry is built on team spirit and collaboration. We encourage each other to achieve more and challenge ourselves; and when we work together well, we get things done safer, faster and cheaper.

In civil engineering you get to work with a diverse range of people from all over the world; and before you know it you have a contact list of international friends that can offer you technical engineering advice but also help you plan your next holiday if you plan to visit their home country!

Education

I did A levels in chemistry, biology and mathematics, followed by a civil engineering Masters degree at university. I then joined the Highways England Civil Engineering Graduate Scheme.

Hobbies

Bouldering, playing football, photography and gaming.