Sophie McGinley

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I’m Sophie a Graduate Mechanical Building Services Engineer at Mott MacDonald. During my master’s degree in Architectural Engineering at the University of Sheffield I developed an interest in sustainable building design and was part of the carbon neutral society and Sustainability committee. These passions led me to apply to work for Mott MacDonald through the Graduate application scheme. I completed the entire process online including my final interviews which were conducted during January 2021, and after accepting my offer I started my role remotely in March 2021.

I chose to apply to Mott MacDonald for a number of reasons. Firstly, the scale of the company; its international presence around the world in the area of engineering, management, and development consultancy, presents opportunities to work on a vast range of areas and projects globally. The sporting, social and volunteering opportunities appealed to me having been involved in these throughout school and university, alongside the structured graduate programme on offer. An important reason for choosing Mott MacDonald was their company values as these are strongly associated to my own; I have a passion to create a real and long-lasting positive social and environmental change through my career which Mott MacDonald’s projects aim to achieve. Further, a significant factor which influenced my choice to apply was Mott MacDonald’s efforts to address the climate crisis with its pledge to become carbon neutral by the end of 2020 (which it achieved successfully), demonstrating the progressive actions being taken and setting an example for other companies and institutions to follow suit.

Since joining Mott MacDonald, I have been lucky enough to work on tasks and projects centring on my interest in sustainability and health and wellbeing. Work I have completed so far includes Indoor Air Quality Plans, Low Zero Carbon Studies, thermal comfort modelling, energy use and carbon emissions modelling, and BREEAM assistance. The projects related to this work have primarily focused on healthcare facilities, however, I have worked on a range of building types since joining and worked on tasks outside of those listed. The more commonly known areas of mechanical building services that I will also be working on in the future include heating, ventilation, cooling, and water services design.

As a graduate at Mott MacDonald, I am on the Accelerating Your Future (AYF) programme. The programme has been particularly useful in meeting other graduates across the UK, working at different offices and in different sectors. The programme has taught me core professional skills outside of the engineering knowledge and expertise I will gain in my day-to-day role, for instance the benefits of networking and good communication, as well as a two-day project management course. Outside of the AYF programme I have also completed a CIBSE Mechanical Services Explained three-day course. I applied for this course which Mott MacDonald funded and this has been extremely beneficial in furthering my understanding of building services and my role. Additionally, I am on the upGRADe programme which is designed to support me on my path towards chartership.

The main challenge I have faced since joining Mott MacDonald I would say is doing so remotely, like all 2020 graduates have this year. The general buzz of an office, or ability to turn your shoulder to ask a question is lost through remote working, however, my line manager and buddy did a great job at welcoming me into the team and answering any questions or queries I had straight away. It’s been a challenge but having taken the opportunity to join the sports & social committee at my office when a space arose, I’m excited for the events we are planning which will bring a number of colleagues back together or to meet for the first time.

I would say the thing I enjoy the most about my job is working on projects that are contributing to positive environmental and social outcomes. Equally, I love learning something new each day in this role- be that a shortcut on a piece of software or changes in legislation which will drive future building design. I’m looking forward to completing my graduate scheme with Mott MacDonald and their support as I work towards becoming a chartered building services engineer.