Edmund completed an MEng in Structural Engineering at Heriot-Watt University in 2009. He now works as a structural engineer for Amec.
I applied to numerous structural engineering companies during the graduate recruitment phases, mainly through online applications. I then secured my role at Amec .
The degree course closely matches the main area of my job, however, there are various aspects that were not covered during university, e.g. people management, client interaction, allowable stress design, offshore work in general, etc. I believe having previous experience managing people (as a duty manager in a Little Chef Restaurant) helped a lot with securing the job.
The great thing about my job is there is no ‘typical’ day. Some days I will be engrossed in a particular set of detailed design calculations for one project or another, other days I may be in meetings with the client and on other occasions I may be offshore carrying out surveys.
I began work as a graduate engineer, working under the supervision of my line manager. After about three months I discussed with my manager the possibility of taking on more responsibility within my role. He agreed and I began to manage small projects with a design team of three to four people. Initially this was still supervised somewhat by my line manager but after a few months I was trusted with the work and left to my own devices.
I progressed on from there to successfully manage a larger project and then, during a regular meeting with my line manager, we discussed developing the technical side of my work. I spent about six months working closely with a senior engineer on a very challenging project, which greatly helped to develop my technical competence. After about one and a half years I was promoted and given a very large project to manage with a design team of 15 people. This project was a steep learning curve for me and proved a huge challenge, but as it is coming to a close I am now in line for another promotion and I have a significant amount of experience behind me for the next project.
I like the challenge offered by brownfield oil and gas. It is often very challenging to come up with a design that works from a technical standpoint but that can also fit into the existing structure offshore without causing access problems or affecting the structure in a detrimental way. I also enjoy being able to develop my soft skills, e.g. people management, communication, etc.
Within the oil and gas industry, most projects are run as ‘fast track’ jobs due to the financial incentives to get an oil rig producing oil as soon as possible. This often leads to very tight deadlines and schedules which have to be met in order to keep winning work for the company. It can be challenging to make sure you have planned far enough in advance to be able to ensure you have all the information you need for the job and enough designers available, etc.
I like the challenge and variety of work that is available, as well as the opportunity to go offshore, which most people never experience. There is also huge potential for international work - oh and the money is pretty good.
I would advise students to work hard at school/university, and if you like the technical sciences, then engineering might be right for you. Try and get some experience of people management before graduating as it will help you a lot during the interview selection process.
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