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Changing direction

Mark Armond has found engineering managers are in demand Mark Armond, 41, joined BBRP in 1990 after five years with Kier Management, starting on the team that was looking at how the London Underground's track team could be improved.

He then became site agent on the Chiltern line renewal. After a contract installing a new points machine for Railtrack, again as agent, Armond moved to Dartford in Kent on an area resignalling scheme and his railway career took a change of direction.

'The new role meant I was getting more involved with the design and procurement of the contract from an earlier stage and involved a lot more management of interfaces between the various suppliers and subcontractors.'

Armond feels that in a lot of companies this would have been seen as a sideways move. 'The traditional career path of sub agent, agent, contracts manager is still seen by a lot of contractors as the only way to progress in their career. But BBRP is no longer solely a contractor and offers the whole range of disciplines a client requires. It gives staff a chance to move away from the traditional route and still progress upwards. BBRP has realised that engineering management is a key role in the industry and has recognised it as a career route as opposed to somewhere to retire to after twenty years of muck and bucket, ' Armond says.

Armond graduated with a degree in engineering science but was encouraged by BBRP to work towards his Institution of Civil Engineers professional review and he became chartered two years ago. 'I am very grateful for the support I receive from the company.

Chartered status is a requirement on a lot of the jobs I am now working on.'

He is now involved at BBRP as a delegated engineer looking after fresh graduates.

'It allows me to put something back and keeps me in touch with the Civils training scheme.'

Since his time at Dartford Armond has worked in the Watford to Bletchley alliance on the West Coast Main Line upgrade contract responsible for OHL and track renewals. He feels that the alliancing type contracts that have been established are a step forward.

'It has allowed BBRP to get involved a lot earlier in a contract, meaning we can better assist the client. We are no longer seen as just a constructor, we are a one stop shop company.'

'Rail at the moment is such an exciting sector to work in. As rail projects are so multi-faceted there is always a new challenge for me as an engineer, and I am thriving on it.'

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