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Water sector careers: Liquid assets

After winning significant work in the water industry, Mott MacDonald is expanding rapidly, looking for engineers for design and build and consultancy work in the UK and abroad. Report by Ben Cronin.

The water industry’s new regulatory framework, Asset Management Programme 6 (AMP6), will bring wide ranging changes for water companies and their supply chain partners. For Mott MacDonald, the increased emphasis on supply chain collaboration is informing the contracting firms it has partnered with and, by extension, the people the consultant is trying to recruit.

Mott MacDonald has won a significant amount of work in AMP6, renewing contracts with Yorkshire and Severn Trent Water and securing new business with Anglian Water, Welsh Water and United Utilities.

The company will deliver many of its new UK contracts through its design and build business, Mott MacDonald Bentley (MMB). The joint venture was formed in 1999 and Mott MacDonald acquired its water partnerBentley Holdings, including contracting subsidiary JN Bentley, in its entirety in 2014.

Mott Macdonald engineers

Opportunity: Mott MacDonald is recruiting for work in the UK and abroad

This marked a logical progression for the joint venture that was already well respected as a delivery vehicle for water companies.

“We’ve won a significant pipeline of work in AMP6 as MMB, involving a lot of design and build projects,” says David Thomas, manager of Mott MacDonald’s water business.

“We need people who are well versed in the CDM [Construction (Design and Management)] principles of designing, but with construction and operations in mind.”

MMB manager Paul Smedley, stresses that this is an attitude that new recruits can learn, rather than a pre-requisite for employment with the firm.

“You don’t have to have the expertise on day one, especially if you’re a younger graduate, but it’s important that people come with a collaborative outlook, are willing to learn and know where we want to end up,” he says.

“It’s a slightly different mindset to what some might expect, but in return we give our staff exposure to the whole of the project lifecycle.”

For those more interested in “classic” design work, Tim Hill, manager of Mott MacDonald’s asset management and advisory services, says the company has also secured “pure consultancy” work in AMP6 focused, on solving complex resource management, process and structural engineering challenges.

“Outside AMP6 we also offer opportunities to work on major projects in an international arena - in water utilities, wastewater and water supply, dams, rivers, irrigation and hydro power,” he says.

Thomas thinks the fact that Mott MacDonald is an employee-owned business makes for a more collaborative working culture.

“Very simply, staff have a shareholding and that gives the company control over its own destiny rather than answering to external investors,” he says. “Employees share in its success, and that results in a culture of collaboration and innovation.”

“It’s a culture that kept us strong during the recession and will serve us well as we grow over the next five years and beyond.”

  • For more details on Mott MacDonald’s view on careers in the water sector click here.

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