A Day in the Life of: A Construction Engineer
It’s the challenges that lie at the heart of every construction project that make the profession so rewarding for Dr Gareth Whittleston.
“You often need to think on your feet and take a very creative approach as each project evolves and you encounter unforeseen obstacles,” he explains.
“And while that’s undoubtedly stressful, there’s no better feeling when the scheme’s concluded and you’ve played a pivotal role in its completion.”
Dr Whittleston – who now lectures in civil engineering at the University of Salford after many years working in industry – also stresses the importance of “scrupulous attention to detail” and “collaborative working”.
“With large infrastructure projects in particular, no one company can do it all and everyone – from demolition companies to designers and everyone else – plays a vital role. You have to be able to work collaboratively; you have to ensure that your facts are correct or it can cause delays; and you have to be able to adopt a creative approach to problem solving.”
As a civil and structural engineer, Dr Whittleston worked on several major UK retail developments – including Harvey Nichols in central Manchester, and the Kingsgate Shopping Centre in Huddersfield – in addition to the Airbus factory in Broughton in North Wales, which was one of the world’s biggest factories at the time of its completion. In addition, he worked on a major gas pipeline infrastructure project in Canada – among other major international schemes – before moving into academia.
Today, he advises students interested in a career in civil engineering to ensure that they focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects while at school.
“I’m a STEM ambassador for the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) and I’m incredibly passionate about encouraging youngsters to discover what personally and professional rewarding opportunities a career in this sector bring,” he adds.
“The IStructE and other organisations run engagement programmes targeted at youngsters.There are few professions which allow you to positively contribute to society by improving the way we all live our lives while simultaneously leaving such a rich legacy for future generations.”
For more information visit http://www.salford.ac.uk