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Mercedes Ascaso Til, 25, is a graduate design engineer for Cleveland Bridge and Engineering

Route to job

I graduated in 1998 with an honours degree in civil engineering from Santander University in Spain. It was a six-year course which provided me with a good grounding in mathematics and physics and an in depth knowledge of civil engineering. After that I spent three months working in the RRC (roller-compacted concrete) Rialp Dam with Spanish firm NECSO. In my sixth year I specialised in structures and came to Britain for work experience with Cleveland Bridge and Engineering (CB). After my six-week work experience was over, CB offered me a permanent position on its graduate design engineering programme. I started work in the estimating department in October 1998 and I have just been promoted to the major projects department.


Although I was thinking about staying at University and obtaining a PhD there were several points which made CB's offer more attractive. Bridges are my passion and CB gave me the opportunity to be involved in the design and construction of major bridges throughout the world. I was apprehensive but also excited about working in a different country, learning a different culture and language and finding out about the British approach to engineering.

The reality

In just a year and a half I have been involved in the analysis of a large variety of structures. The training scheme is helping to develop my innate strengths without neglecting other important aspects and my responsibilities are gradually increasing. Personal relations are based on respect and dialogue which results in effectiveco-operation. At the moment I am part of the design team for the Carquinez suspension bridge in California. I expect to be involved in the construction process which will give me a good insight into project development from start to finish.


I think the British approach to engineering leads to an effective and practical use of techniques and materials. It is very positive to exchange information and attitudes, to learn from as many sources as possible and to be open minded. In my opinion enthusiasm and interest for your job is as important as anything; you have to work hard and make sure that you profit from all the opportunities around you.

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