Route to the job I graduated from South Bank Polytechnic in 1986 with a degree in civil engineering and started work for Dorset County Council, transportation and engineering, as a measurement engineer on site.
After two years I was made an assistant engineer and worked in the design office on a variety of projects, starting in highways and then moving to bridge maintenance, where I was designing and letting contracts for bridge refurbishment projects. I became chartered in 1994.
In 1997, as a result of local government reorganisation, I was transferred to the Borough of Poole as an engineer working in construction related services, carrying out design, contract preparation and site supervision for a variety of highway improvement schemes.
I became a senior civil engineer in April 1999.
Expectations Having worked in local government for a number of years, I had a good idea of what the post entailed. My role has recently changed though, following a restructuring within the borough.
The reality I am responsible for managing a small team of engineers and technicians undertaking feasibility, design and site supervision, on a variety of engineering projects.
On a day to day basis this involves answering queries and helping resolve problems which may arise. In addition to management duties, I am still involved in project work, which at the moment relates mainly to a proposed park and ride site.
In light of recent restructuring, I will have more involvement with committee work and dealing with councillors and members of the public.
In recent years, the work has changed a great deal and we now deal frequently with projects not typically associated with civil engineering, such as the mechanical refurbishment of Poole Harbour Bridge and the provision of a real time passenger information system for buses. This helps to keep the job interesting.
Advice A career in local government may not necessarily suit everyone, but it does provide the opportunity to become involved in a variety of projects. You are also involved at all stages of the scheme from feasibility to construction. I think this is particularly valuable for graduates wishing to become chartered, as it provides a broad base of engineering skills even if they decide to specialise later.