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Jeremy Penfold, 41 is an associate director with WSP Development, Maidstone.

Route to the job I joined what was Frank Graham Consulting Engineers as a senior engineer in 1994. I saw the job advertised in NCE and wanted to work near home rather than commute to London. I had previously worked for both large and small consultants and a large county council.

I started my career as a dayrelease technician with Travers Morgan, completing an HNC course in 1981. I subsequently took the Associate Members exam for the Institution of Structural Engineers and became incorporated in 1991 while working at Bruce Cufley & Partners. I became AMICE and MIHT in 1992, when I was at SB Tietz & Partners.

My work experience includes bridgeworks, building structures, drainage, highways and transportation.

Expectations Before joining WSP I had begun to focus on the infrastructure aspects of developments and the traffic implications involved. I was keen to develop these skills on a wide range of projects, while retaining some flexibility in my workload.

The reality The reality is that I have been able to work on a wide range of projects for a broad client base.

Clients have included blue chip companies and top organisations, particularly in the leisure and education fields. Aside from the professional aspects of projects, exposure to high calibre individuals in other fields has helped me to develop a broader understanding of my job. My current projects include the engineering implications of housing developments, transportation aspects of education, health and leisure facilities and infrastructure design for a variety of commercial developments. I have been very fortunate in being able to progress within WSP and my responsibilities have grown accordingly. This has not always helped me to see more of my family, but on balance I feel that working near home is much better than the daily grind on the rail system into London.

I am now applying to become chartered through the ICE, via its senior candidate route. I have successfully passed the career appraisal and am now preparing my main submission.

Advice Find which area of engineering you enjoy most and try to make a go of it, but do not specialise too early. As my career has progressed, the ability to talk knowledgeably about a range of issues has become increasingly important. This can only be done with a sound grounding in a range of disciplines.

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