When I joined AECOM, my first project was an assessment of a jack arch bridge at Great West Road in London, for TfL (Transport for London). The bridge was constructed of composite materials, so I had to assess it using a mix of hand calculations and LUSAS analytical software. We also came up with a bespoke method of using Archie-M software to assess the jack arches. Finally, I took a closer look at the parapets to see how a collision load would affect the bridge, and how we could upgrade to a stronger parapet. I had an appreciation of steel design and grillages from studying my MSc in Structural Engineering. Having a complex project like this was very challenging but taught me a huge amount, and ignited my passion for bridge engineering. I have since worked on a variety of interesting projects.
Besides being based in Chelmsford, I had the opportunity to work in different offices such as Croydon, Aldgate and Swindon and even had an opportunity to travel to Denmark to deliver a tender document. AECOM is a massive company so if you are looking for a particular experience or opportunity, chances are it exists somewhere within. My advice to new engineers interviewing for a first job is to ask about graduate development opportunities. In my case, I have been lucky to work in an office with many senior staff who I view as technical and career mentors. AECOM’s Graduate Development Programme also helped me develop professional skills and network with other graduates throughout the country.
One of my main concerns after graduating from university was believing that I had to sacrifice my social life and sports to work with dead serious professional people. Something that made me feel comfortable in AECOM was that there were many other graduates in my office who could relate to this assumption. Currently, I play football and badminton weekly with my colleagues as well as attending social events with AECOM’s Sports and Socials Club. I also found time to do voluntary roles such as being ICE Essex Branch Graduates and Students Chairman where my role involves organising and attend ICE events. In terms of leave days, I only found the courage to go backpacking after I started my career with AECOM and my managers have been very supportive. My next trip will be a 2 months adventure to South America!