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GE jobfile

Name : Andy Young

Age: 37

Occupation: technical engineer, BG Transco

Route to the job: After graduating in engineering geology and geotechnics from Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1986, I spent two years in general site investigation practice.Realising that the interest value of sticking your hands into cold bulk bags was pretty limited, I returned to college to study for a PhD in engineering rock mechanics at the University of Newcastle.Completion of this coincided with interest by British Gas in underground gas storage.Assessment of pipeline integrity became my prime area of work four years ago when I transferred into Transco, which owns and operates the gas transmission and distribution network in the UK.

Typical day: I work in a team of 14 supplying specialist services to major project teams in Transco involved in the construction, uprating or maintenance of high pressure gas transmission pipelines.In my case, this primarily involves assessment of pipeline integrity due to the operational loads of temperature and pressure or external loading including surface loads, subsidence, landslip or areas of soft ground.Most ofmy work is office based concentrating on the assessment of design or construction records involving numerical analysis.Periodically, I undertake fieldwork for maintenance.

Highs and lows: I enjoy the work environment, team, location and content, so there is little to complain about.Even unfeasibly high workloads, which seem pretty universal, can't be seen as a drawback but a reflection on demands for skills.Fortunately, instances where I am expected to solve complex problems within the timeframe of a telephone call are also becoming less frequent.

Ambitions: Apart from securing an appropriate level of wealth and status commensurate with the responsibility, or discovering and patenting the geotechnical equivalent of cats eyes, making progress in the development ofmore robust methods to determine soil restraint is a priority ofmine.Unlike foundation analysis -where a factor of safety approach is used - rigorous determination of pipeline integrity requires the accurate definition of soil restraint.This aspect lags behind sophisticated assessment methods in other fields of pipeline design and maintenance.

Advice : Geotechnical support to pipeline integrity is a new subject but it is rapidly developing on the back of advances in numerical analysis.You will need a background in civil engineering with a geotechnical bias or geotechnical engineering.It is an advantage to obtain a postgraduate qualification in geotechnical engineering with a strong materials or mechanical engineering element.Most common route into BG Transco is via the graduate programme.

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