Borgue Primary School, Kirkcudbright Academy and Cardiff University
Standard Grades, Highers, Advanced Highers, Masters Degree
Lifeguard at a Swimming Pool, Steward at an Art Gallery, Bar Tender, Bar staff and programme sales at a rugby stadium, Graduate Engineer and Assistant Engineer at Opus
Geotechnical Engineer at WSP
WSP is one of the world’s leading professional services firms who provide technical engineering advice and guidance to a huge variety of clients. WSP has offices in countries across the world but we operate as one big team to create and design sustainable infrastructure.
I am a friendly and outdoorsy person who loves to socialise with friends and do lots of sports.
I was born in south west Scotland and now live and work in Edinburgh city centre with my fiancé. We moved here last year after taking a year off work to travel the world with just a back pack weighing 9kg. It was an amazing experience which gave us the chance to visit lots of new places and be part of different cultures.
Before travelling, I lived in Cardiff in Wales where I studied Civil Engineering at Cardiff University for 4 years and after graduating, worked for a further 5 years. During my degree, I was also lucky enough to spend a year working as an engineer in New Zealand just after the earthquake there in 2011. I got to meet lots of new people and had so much fun in such a beautiful country.
In my spare time I love outdoors activities like hill walking. Last year I walked the UK Three Peaks with my friends and have done lots of walking near Edinburgh. I enjoy doing lots of sports including cycling, swimming, yoga and squash. Getting out on my bike helps me to keep fit and a great environmentally friendly way to commute to work. I also enjoy cooking and baking foods from different countries, and eating it all too!
I look at the engineering of earth materials like soil and rock to help construct things like bridges, roads, railways and buildings.
I work as a Consulting Geotechnical Engineer for WSP in the Edinburgh Office. Geotechnical engineering, or geotechnics as it is sometimes called, is engineering relating to earth materials like soil and rock. It is a division of Civil Engineering that looks at designing and maintaining things like embankments, roads, tunnels and coastlines. We design the foundations for buildings, bridges and roads as well as monitoring assets like slopes and railways for any signs of movement.
I have worked on lots of different projects like new school buildings, roads, bridges and railways. This has meant I have met lots of new people along the way and made friends for life.
The best part about being a Geotechnical Engineer is the variety of work and that you get to travel. One week you might be working on the foundation design for a new bridge, the next you might be out on site looking for signs of slope failure like rocks falling.
My Typical Day: I am very lucky to have a job that allows me to work both in an office and also outside on site work. On days in the office I arrive at 7.30am and finish by 4pm and generally do design work using computer software, attend meetings with my colleagues or plan for ground investigations that take place on site. On days I am on site, working hours are more varied but I would usually be supervising drilling or doing surveys.
Day-to-day one of the great things about my job is that it allows me to work both in an office and outside on site work. This is great if you like to be outside a lot but also like to work with a big team in the office.
When in the office I generally cycle in to work where I can then have a shower and eat my breakfast. I then look through my emails and start my work for the day. In the office I mostly do design work using computer software, go to lots of project meetings, do training or plan for ground investigations on site. I have got to know quite a few people in the office and enjoy having a chat with them when having a break from work. A lot of people I work with have similar interests so we talk about our hobbies and plans for the weekend too – not just work!
I mentioned ground investigations but what actually is that? Ground investigations are usually one of the first things that is done on a new project to check what is underneath the surface of the ground, usually by drilling or digging holes through it. This gives you a better idea of what the geology is and how hard the ground might be if building on it – just to avoid building a skyscraper on a peat bog!
When I am out of the office working on site, I supervise ground investigations to check it is being done in the right way. My work hours can vary a lot when doing this kind of work as in the summer months the days can be quite long with more daylight hours. In the winter months the days are a bit shorter as it gets dark by 4pm and it is not safe to work in the dark. I can then catch up on paperwork in the evenings. Although days are longer, I find they go much quicker on site as there is lots going on. Unless it is raining and cold – then it feels like a long day! On site I have to wear protective equipment like a hard hat, special boots and high visibility clothing for safety. It felt quite strange when I fist started working but it just feels normal now and everyone else is wearing it too.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
friendly, fun and creative
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Inspected the British High Commission in New Zealand for earthquake damage - it was cool to see!
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
I was inspired to do engineering because I liked the idea of being part of a project that would be there for 100's of years.
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
I didn't really know!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not really. I got told off a few times for forgetting homework or not wearing uniform.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I think I would be a teacher or an outdoors activity leader.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Maroon 5 - we saw them play live in Australia and it was awesome.
What's your favourite food?
Salmon or BBQ food
What is the most fun thing you've done?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
to be able to run a marathon, have some pets of my own, be an expert in my job
Tell us a joke.
What is the best season to jump on a trampoline? Springtime