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


Your career: IT

Who got the job

Ian Butler, 29, is a civil engineering assistant with Tilfen, a specialist development company responsible for managing Thamesmead Town's commercial and industrial properties.

Route to the job

My first job was in 1988 as a trainee technician with the engineering department of Tunbridge Wells borough council. While there I trained under an ICE agreement and gained experience in the highways, drainage and structural engineering sections. I also studied for an ONC in civil engineering at West Kent College and for an HNC in civil engineering at the University of Brighton.

In 1993 I moved to Monson & Locks, a civil and structural engineering consultancy formed by former employees of Tunbridge Wells borough council, where I worked as a senior technician in the drainage department.

In 1994 I passed the Technicians Professional Review through the ICE to obtain engineering technical status. I left Monson & Locks in 1997 to join South East Water as an infrastructure technician, where I was responsible for designing water mains to serve new housing developments. In 1998 I moved to Halcrow Water Services, and worked as a technician undertaking the design and site supervision of various clean water and foul water drainage schemes.


Last December I moved to Tilfen as a civil engineering assistant undertaking various infrastructure design projects. I was keen to take on more responsibility and manage my own projects: previous opportunities to do this had been limited. As I had mainly worked on drainage and water supply schemes since 1993, I also wanted to gain more experience of other engineering disciplines.

I think it is important to gain a broad range of experience, as this will help you understand and solve problems when they occur. I also wanted to move back to a smaller company as I have found these more sociable places to work - with plenty of office banter! And I wanted to spend more time on engineering tasks rather than QA related issues.


As I have only been in this post since December last year it is hard to comment on the reality.

However, I will soon be responsible for managing several projects, and since December have undertaken a traffic calming scheme and assisted with a variety of other highway related issues. So given that I am interested in gaining experience outside drainage and water supply, and will take more responsibility in the near future, things are looking good.


Studying part time for my HNC meant attending college one day and one evening a week. This was difficult, as I had to juggle my work responsibilities and studies. However, I can appreciate the value of completing the HNC and would recommend the course.

I think it's also important to use the knowledge you have gained through studying in your place of work, and to gain experience with different companies and in different disciplines or sectors. For example, working for a local authority is very different to working for a consultancy.

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.