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Suzannah Brown

Suzannah Brown

Civil Engineering Apprentice, Department for Infrastructure


Design, Structural, Construction


Northern Ireland
My highlights

I am a professionally qualified Engineering Technician (EngTech MICE)

Being part of a professional and encouraging team working on a diverse range of projects

I am a STEM ambassador

I choose to do an apprenticeship because...

I chose an apprenticeship for many reasons. I really enjoyed STEM subjects in school, particularly Maths. I had applied to university but was unsure on what career path I wanted to pursue.

I started researching other options and realised the apprenticeship route would allow me to gain an understanding of the role of a civil engineer in the workplace along with parallel studying. This made sense, giving me the opportunity to explore working in a wildly diverse industry, as well as gain on the job learning from professionals and benefit from a debt-free education.

Civil engineers are always in high demand. If you work hard and keep improving yourself, you can work in an innovative job, anywhere in the world.

A typical day in your life

I love that my work is so varied.

I am part of a specialised structures unit within my organisation. Each day involves topographical surveying, using AutoCAD to complete drawings, completing feasibility reports and costing options, and contacting and liaising with service providers and stakeholders. One day a week I attend university for lectures and tutorials.

I am also a STEM ambassador, regularly attending schools to promote civil engineering.

We asked Suzannah…

What is the highlight of your apprenticeship so far?

The highlight is being part of a professional and encouraging team working on a diverse range of projects.

There are many other positives. Practical learning and solving real-life problems suits me, so entering the workforce and being part of a highly skilled team has been invaluable for my development. I like the financial independence and confidence I have gained from my apprenticeship and I enjoy the structured learning and working which keeps me focused on my future.

I am also a professionally qualified Engineering Technician (EngTech MICE) and I want to continue my professional development.

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

What is right for one person is not necessarily the correct path for another. I would encourage others to do an apprenticeship if they are hardworking, with a thirst for knowledge and enjoy learning by hands-on, practical experience. In the end it’s not about the path you take, it’s about where you finish.

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

It isn’t one individual project or person. I have always been curious and analytical, wanting to know more about the infrastructure around me.

My dad is a civil engineer and part of the reason I chose this career path. He taught me the value of a good reputation and I’m inspired by how respected he is. I always seek out his opinion when I need advice or inspiration.

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

a feminist, a sportsperson and a travel addict.

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

I know that each day I am working to deliver sustainable designs for a versatile range of projects.

Working in a professional, challenging and creative environment builds my confidence and problem-solving ability.

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

I think one of the biggest myths is that civil engineering is only for men. Schemes that promote STEM careers in schools have increased the awareness that civil engineering is an industry where men and women can both be successful.

Ultimately, it is important to show girls they can be civil engineers and that comes from women in the industry taking part in initiatives to engage and encourage female students.

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

Magdeburg Water Bridge. It is the longest navigable aqueduct in the world, with a total length of 918 meters. It is unique because it is a water bridge crossing water and links the formerly divided East and West Germany over the Elbe River as part of the unification project.

I like the idea that civil engineering can connect people culturally.

Any personal causes or hobbies?

I am a STEM ambassador helping to promote STEM subjects in schools and encourage the next generation of engineers.

I love sport, whether that’s competing or watching, and I travel whenever and wherever I can. Completing Everest Base Camp is one of my most fulfilling achievements.