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

NCE Graduates Awards: A winner’s tale

The 2014 NCE Graduate Awards are now open for entries to the brightest all-round civil engineers. Last year’s winner Joe Smith tells Ruby Kitching how the accolade has opened up a wealth of opportunities.

Joe Smith

Winner’s voice: Last year’s winner Joe Smith speaking after picking up his award

Arup geotechnical engineer and Bristol University graduate Joe Smith was crowned last year’s NCE graduate of the year. The professional cricket coach and first class MEng civil engineering graduate is currently working on a major residential and commercial development in Canary Wharf, London. He is seeing the project from ground investigation and interpretation through to design.

The awards’ judges had been particularly impressed by his passion for engineering and his insight into the industry’s challenges, as well as having an exemplary academic record and broad range of extra-curricular interests.

Smith says that winning the top prize has raised his profile and opened doors within his firm, as well as outside it.

“Arup have been fantastically supportive of me since I won the competition. Simply getting some exposure within my company will also stand me in good stead as my career develops. A wide range of networking opportunities have also arisen, allowing me to pick the brains of some of the leaders of our industry,” he says.

Who can enter?

The awards are open to anyone who graduated in 2013 with a civil engineering - or related - degree or postgraduate course. To enter and for further information, visit or contact Alex Frayne on 0203 033 2904 or


Smith recently accompanied ICE President Geoff French on a site visit to the Crossrail stations at Whitechapel and Canary Wharf. This gave him an insight into some of the UK’s most challenging civil engineering projects.

As an ICE President’s Apprentice he is also involved with promoting civil engineering to the masses. Smith is certain that this association, and winning the award, has made it easier for him to pursue professional interests outside work, including returning to Devon to promote civil engineering to schools in his home town of Tiverton.

Smith feels it is imperative that companies demonstrate their support to graduates.

“As an industry we must strive to attract and retain the best graduates. This is not an easy task, given how attractive the skills of graduate engineers are to employers in a multitude of other industries,” he says.

He adds that the application process for the awards was itself a useful experience. It allowed him to reflect on his achievements and reaffirm his enthusiasm for the profession.

“I would urge any civil engineering graduate who is enjoying their first year in industry to take the time to apply,” he says. “As civil engineers, we are not renowned for our success in selling ourselves outside the industry. The application process is a good prompt to get graduates to reflect on how impressive some of their achievements have been.”

  • Companies or individuals interested in putting forward a candidate for the NCE Graduate Awards should visit www. . Entry deadline is 9 September. 

2014 grad awards sponsor panel

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.

Related Jobs