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Working lives

Simon Cope, 29, is a project engineer with Bingham Hall O'Hanlon partnership.

Route to job

After completing an ONC and HNC in civil engineering between 1988 and 1992 as a technician, I went on to complete a BEng (hons) degree at the University of Glamorgan, graduating in 1995. I started my career as a graduate engineer at Hyder Consulting and went on to become an assistant engineer on a variety of projects. I heard about the vacancy for my current job through speaking to Westgate Recruitment in June of 2000.

Expectations

Before starting the job, I hoped to run my own team while working on a variety of projects. I knew the company had a good reputation within the local construction market, and wanted to get involved in developing good working relationships with existing developers and contractors, but also in establishing relationships with new clients.

I was also aware that the company operates by using teams to deal with entire projects rather than employing specialists to work on individual elements. I was keen to experience this approach.

Reality

On a day to day basis I liaise with the design team on issues relating to the current project. I'm responsible mainly for the design of super/substructure elements, and for organising and checking construction drawings. I work on a variety of projects from building structures to highway design. I attend design and site team meetings and liaise with the local authority on design issues. I hope to become chartered in the near future, and to progress through the company, ultimately via a partnership, or a practice of my own.

Advice

My advice to any one wishing to get into consulting engineering would be to avoid specialising too soon within any one field.

Fluctuations within the industry mean changing demands in different fields at different times.

Also, gain as much experience in all aspects of the projects that you are working on, and take on as much responsibility as is allowed. When dealing with the design team and contractor be flexible in your approach, and be as proactive as possible.

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