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Working lives

Tim Robinson, 39, is an associate director with engineering and transportation consultancy Oscar Faber, based at the firm's Belfast office Route to job After completing a BSc in geography and economics at Coventry Polytechnic - which included a year out on placement with Tyne and Wear's Passenger Transport Executive - I took an MSc in transport at Imperial College London.

After graduating, I got a job with Hertfordshire County Council, where I was involved in coordinating public transport. I then went to the London Borough of Newham, as a project engineer working on bus priority and traffic management schemes, before joining Mott MacDonald as a transport planner.

I worked on various traffic impact assessments with Motts, as well as the major South London Assessment Study.

In 1991 I joined Halcrow Fox, where I worked on a number of different types of projects and also did a fair amount of overseas work, including traffic studies for new airports in Malaysia and Hong Kong.

I joined Oscar Faber in December 1995, specifically to manage its new Belfast office.

Expectations The firm had worked here since the early 1980s without a permanent base. Then it secured a three-year contract with Roads Service (the highways authority). I thought 'Here's an opportunity to go home.

I'll give it a year and see what happens'. That was six years ago.

The reality We're now one of the main transport consultants in Northern Ireland. The business has expanded - we've recently been joined by a building engineering division - and I feel settled here.

Unlike offices on the mainland, ours isn't segregated by discipline.

You get a good range of projects to work on and have to be versatile. Oscar Faber was recently recognised by the Sunday Times as one of the 50 best companies to work for in the UK - the only consultancy on the list.

There is a lot more work around at the moment, from both the public and private sectors. This is thanks in some part to the growing realisation that transport and traffic matters are extremely important.

Advice I'd say take up any opportunities you're offered for working overseas. And come to Northern Ireland if you want to work in a broad-based, multidisciplinary environment.

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