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Life on Secondment


Pinder Kandola Forty-year old Pinder Kandola has just completed a secondment as a senior engineer in the transportation department of a large Midlands Council. He was initially seconded for one month, but ended up staying five years.

'I started as a MOSS engineer to work on one scheme, ' he explains, referring to the popular infrastructure design software now known as MX. 'At the end of that they kept me on, and as the budget increased every year, there was a continuity of work.'

Kandola worked for local authorities in Bristol and Stafford before joining Aspen. 'I was going to go on contract, but friends were at Aspen and they suggested I join, ' he says. 'My initial thoughts were that I would like to move around, but the work here was so varied and interesting that I was happy to stay.'

His next milestone will be to achieve chartered status, hopefully this year. After that Kandola is likely to become an area manager for Waterman Aspen, which means that, in addition to being on secondment himself, he will also support other WA staff on secondment in the Midlands.

David Axon When David Axon left Berkshire County Council in 1998 he already had a 30 year career in local government behind him, most recently as deputy county engineer.

However, not feeling ready to retire, he set up as a consultant, and in 2000 agreed to work part time for Aspen.

He is now a senior engineer at Westminster City Council, where he has been responsible for an audit of the authority's street lighting commitments and also played a part in its best value review.

'The job is very political, ' he says, 'and in this area the residents like to be able to use their cars, so it can be difficult trying to introduce integrated transport plans. I have to use lateral thinking to develop schemes that will suit everybody.'

Now 57, Axon works three days a week at Westminster. He expects the secondment to come to an end soon as the department is to start formal outsourcing contracts and his position will become redundant.

But with his wealth of experience at the top level of local government, Axon is unlikely to be without a new secondment for long.

Thomas Van der Hoven After studying civil engineering in South Africa, Thomas Van der Hoven travelled the world, ending up in the UK in 1999. He worked for a borough council for two years before joining Aspen as a graduate engineer.

Since joining, he has been on secondment to Warwickshire County Council, working on a range of highway engineering schemes, including carriageway realignment and cycleway design.

He is now involved in a £1.8M project to improve facilities for vulnerable road users in Leamington Spa.

Van der Hoven, 25, is working towards getting chartered and has a training agreement with Waterman Aspen, although Warwickshire County Council, like many clients, helps to ensure he is getting the right experience.

As one of four WA staff in his team, Van der Hoven feels well integrated with the council.

'There's a lunchtime seminar every month and we always get invited to participate, ' he says. 'There is a very good relationship between the secondment people and the permanent staff.'

Waterman Burrow Crocker and Waterman Aspen were formed when Waterman acquired Aspen in 2001. Waterman Burrow Crocker (WBC) is the amalgamation of Waterman's civil engineering and transportation team with Aspen Burrow Crocker, the consultancy arm of Aspen Consulting. Joining the two teams has created a civil and transportation company employing over 250 staff.

It has also brought together two different client bases. Aspen Consulting was traditionally strong in the public sector, while Waterman had good connections with private sector clients - often through working in partnership with the company's structural engineering team.

Aspen Consulting also brought a breadth of expertise across disciplines such as geotechnical engineering, water and environment, as well as a network of regional offices.

Waterman Aspen (WA) is the outsourcing arm of the company, and was previously known as Aspen Associates. It employs 200 staff, most of whom are permanently on medium to long term secondments to local authorities throughout the UK.

Seconded staff and their clients can also call on the group's full range of engineering and environmental expertise.

Waterman structure The Waterman Group has a turnover of more than £61M a year and employs 1190 staff - including 998 technical staff - across a wide range of disciplines. It has four primary companies covering environmental, civil & transportation, M&E and building structures. The group also has an international company, with eight overseas offices in eastern and continental Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific and China.

Waterman Burrow Crocker and Waterman Aspen jointly employ 452 staff throughout the UK and account for approximately one third of group turnover.

Key clients:

Highways Agency Warwickshire County Council London Borough of Sutton British Airways Network Rail ProLogis Brixton plc Hammerson Properties World Bank London Underground Halton Borough Council Recent projects:

Dartford Park development Birmingham Moor St Station (Bullring) White City development The Shires, Leicester Oakham Bypass Porterstown Bridge, Ireland Royal Portbury Dock, Bristol (new aviation fuel terminal) Derby air quality study Shepherds Bush Station redevelopment Dakar transport study, Senegal Pilkington glass factory, Moscow Waterman offers. . . . .

lFlexible benefits lPrivate health insurance lAn 'open door' management style lCompany car options lNon-contributory pension scheme lBonus scheme and employee share ownership scheme lFlexibility of movement between offices throughout the UK lGraduate training scheme and CPD training lPayment of annual professional fees lExcellent career opportunities lProfessional and friendly working environment

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