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Libby Curran

Libby Curran

Advanced apprentice – structural technician, AtkinsRéalis

Expertise

Design, Structural

Location

UK regions
My highlights

STEGTA Award for outstanding performance towards my L3 apprenticeship in civil engineering

Completing college with a double grade Distinction* Distinction*

Seeing the work I’ve produced at a desk come to life on site

A day in my life

A typical workday has me waking up around 7am and heading to work, where I will attend meetings, create Revit models or other computer aided design (CAD) models.

Lunch will be spent either on a walk or with colleagues (taking a larger break from my desk) before I get my head down for another afternoon of work.

Once work is over for the day, I go straight home to eat dinner before heading out the door again to rugby practice or the gym, or onto my PC for some sim-racing (simulated racing).

Achieving EngTech, like any other professional qualification, is challenging. It's what makes it so rewarding when you achieve it.

Which individual project or person inspired you to become an engineering technician?

There was no standalone inspiration for me to be a technician.

I knew early on that I wanted to be involved in engineering in some kind of way.

I researched different career pathways, spoke with a range of people (including friends and family) until I stumbled upon a job opportunity at my current company which ticked all the boxes I was wanting: creativity, digital, and something involving numbers.

We asked Libby…

What motivated you to become a professionally qualified Engineering Technician with ICE?

I was motivated to become professionally qualified as I felt it set me apart from other early career professionals, and also gave me recognition for the work I’ve put into my apprenticeship and career.

I would recommend a career as an engineering technician because…

It’s a really good foundation for embedding yourself in the engineering world.

You will communicate with a variety of people and your skills will be transferable across practices.

Being able to use a range of CAD programmes is majorly beneficial.

What does EngTech MICE status mean for your career?

Having EngTech MICE status would formalise the effort that has been put into my career so far.

It will give me a reason to be even prouder when I see my name (even if it’s just on LinkedIn).

Complete this phrase: I’m an engineering technician, but I’m also...

…an apprentice who wants nothing more than the best career I can get and will try every route until I make the most of it.

What’s one great thing that you love about EngTech MICE that you didn’t know until you got the qualification?

When researching EngTech MICE, I was amazed to see all the benefits you receive – from events with other ICE members to chances to sit on forums and other boards.

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

One project I’ve always loved is La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. It’s seemed like a never-ending project, although it’s close to completion now! The intricacy in design and the challenges that’ve been overcome make it such a standout project.

Another project I would’ve loved the opportunity to work on is the Circuit Zandvoort banking increase as Hugenholtz is 4.5° on the inside of the turn, but on the outside, it’s 19°. It created a faster speed due to the increased vertical loads creating more grip.

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

“Engineering technicians stay at their desks all day.”

No, we don’t! Site experience is crucial for anyone in the industry, especially if you’re on the early career pathway.

What advice would you give someone considering becoming EngTech MICE?

Do it! It’ll benefit you in more ways than one and you can reap the benefits when you see those letters after your name.

Has EngTech MICE helped you overcome any personal hurdles/difficulties?

Achieving EngTech, like any other professional qualification, is challenging.

It's what makes it so rewarding when you achieve it.

I'd say the most important thing the EngTech process taught me is perseverance - a strong character trait that's needed in the industry.

I failed my first EngTech review, which did make me feel low, but I kept going, and succeeded the second time around.

I asked for help, which made a significant difference so that's another thing I'd highlight - the importance of perseverance and support.

Anything else?

I play rugby league in my spare time so a lot of my free time is dedicated to training and being fit.

I’m also an avid traveller with Vietnam being my favourite place to visit so far! In fact, all my annual leave is spent out of the country.

I’m also an avid Formula 1 fan with many friends also racing in other classes, so spend a lot of time at tracks, in a simulator, or doing something with motorsports, like running a sim team!

Libbys' career path

I’m currently in the process of transitioning from L3 (college apprentice) to L6 (degree apprentice). I work for AtkinsRéalis in their building design team.

In short, I attended college for two years, completing my Level 3 National Diploma in civil engineering.

During the overall three years (so far), I’ve also had a variety of work training on and off site. I’ve attended courses and webinars, live events, and more.

These have all broadened the knowledge I’ll need to be successful in my career.

I will be completing a five-year degree apprenticeship at university starting September 2023.

Major projects

The Nuclear Technical Support Provider (NTSP) framework

This framework will deliver specialist nuclear technical services to support the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Navy Command, and other Ministry of Defence organisations. I adopted a new role as an apprentice structural engineer on this project and assist the BIM team.

The Liverpool Wastewater Treatment Works concrete plinth development

Concrete plinths were needed to reduce vibrations from the inlet pumps. The pipework was also being raised and the design had several challenges to overcome. I was the technician on the project.