Will: Engineer

Will: Engineer

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I work within an experienced design team, contributing to overhead line electrification, as well as providing an element of engineering management, which is integration and coordination with all other disciplines working on the project.

Where did your career in rail begin?

My career in rail happened by chance. Leaving university, I applied to graduate schemes in several sectors and engineering industries to increase my chances of graduate employment. I was offered two competing jobs, one in Oil & Gas and one in Rail. I made the decision to work in rail and have never looked back. The engineering is fascinating, requiring the detailed coordination of several complex rail engineering disciplines, and it has always kept me interested.

What were your pre-conceived ideas of a career in rail before you applied/accepted your position? And how is it different to the reality?

My pre-conceived views were similar to most people’s, in that I thought rail was old fashioned and slow paced, that my job would be in a drawing office with old archaic railwaymen. I’m pleased to say that is not the case, upon joining a rail consultancy firm I was introduced to a diverse and fast-paced workforce and project portfolio. Engineering work within rail requires large amounts of coordination and interface between a multitude of technical disciplines, as well as wider disciplines such as environment, business case support and strategic modelling.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

My favourite element of my job is problem solving. Each project that I work on is essentially a large problem to be solved and to solve it you need to work together and solve a multitude of smaller challenges on the way. Coordination and integration of all disciplines will help you understand requirements and find compromises in the designs, which in turn will lead to the optimum solution.

What skills do you need to do your job?

In my specific job you need to be ready to tackle problems as they come, working each solution and comparing relative options. Having a good understanding of the basic engineering and construction principles will help, these are something that will build up as your experience in the sector grows. Skills in basic analytics, computer technology and a good imagination will help in creating tools, trackers and workflows that will manage the designs or projects you are responsible for.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about this or any other career within the rail industry, please get in touch with us and a member of our team will be more than happy to anser any questions you might have!

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What piece of advice would you give someone considering a career in rail, or a career in your field?

My advice would be, go for it!

The rail sector is diverse in the nature of work and disciplines involved. I personally enjoy the multidisciplinary coordination required within projects and aspire to be an Engineering Manager, working to integrate designs and resolve conflicts between designs, third parties and other obstacles engineering projects face. This, however, might not be everyone’s liking and they might enjoy the detail and rigour that comes with engineering design or the coordination that comes with project management or business case development. There is a whole breadth of jobs and skills that are required within the rail sector – once you apply and start working you will find the area that suits you.