Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

GE jobfile


Name: Patricia Bryson

Age:29 Occupation: senior engineering geologist, Woolgar Hunter

Route to the job:

After finishing a degree in geology and applied geology at Glasgow University, I decided to specialise in engineering geology. I took a one-year masters at Heriot Watt University, and then spent five years working for a ground investigation consultant/contractor, where I gained broad experience in engineering and environmental geology. Keen to become more involved with design aspects, I moved to Woolgar Hunter, which is a medium-size civil and structural engineering consultant. I work in the geoenvironmental department, providing advice to the civil and structural engineers, and to external clients.

Typical day:

There really is no such thing because the projects tend to be very varied and involve both office and site work. This, and the often 'fast-track'nature of the work, make the job both challenging and rewarding. I can be involved in a number of activities, from organising ground investigations, to interpreting ground conditions (including geotechnical, environmental and mineral stability analyses), to problem solving on projects at the construction stage. We undertake projects for a wide range of clients, whose needs can vary significantly. Clients include financial institutions, house builders, local authorities and major national corporations.

Highs and lows:

It's rewarding when your interpretation of ground conditions allows innovative and cost effective solutions to be generated, ultimately providing benefit for the client. Ground conditions remain the least predictable element in the construction process and it is frustrating that many parties remain unwilling to allocate adequate resources - in terms of time and money - to the subject.


On a professional level, I aim to achieve chartered geologist status within the next year. At work, I hope to be successful in promoting the importance of the understanding of ground conditions to engineers and client alike. I am also keen to help junior members of staff develop their skills.


Obtain a broad but thorough experience before attempting to specialise. 'Hands-on' experience is particularly valuable, especially in the early stages of your career. Maintain a holistic approach.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.