Unconventional Routes into Engineering

Engineering is changing.  Projects across the board now involve a wider range of specialist engineers than they once did. With several paths leading into the industry, Pell Frischmann shares the experiences of our employees and their routes into engineering.

Where to start:

With a degree in English Literature and masters in 18th Century Literature, you might never have guessed Project Manager Juliet Archer-Reeves would chose a career in engineering. Similarly, Associate Ben Gadsby’s journey from apprentice at age 16 through to completing his day release while working on site to obtain his ONC-HND was also an “unconventional” route into engineering.

Upon leaving school, Nicola Sims worked on various jobs such as a hotel receptionist. Later finding her passion for engineering, she was told she would not be able to progress without having the required qualification. Determined to advance within the engineering industry, Nicola enrolled at the University of East London to study civil engineering, surveying, and mapping.

Environmental Consultant Frances Hamilton had not planned to be working within an engineering consultancy when she started her natural sciences degree. After some work experience with a local council’s flood team she decided that environmental consultancy was where she’d like to focus her career. “With such a broad degree, it was difficult to apply for specific roles in this industry, however Pell Frischmann recognised my potential and motivation to work within the sector and have since supported my growth in knowledge and experience”.

The road less taken:

The availability of multiple paths into engineering also creates numerous forms of progression.

From trainee technician to engineering assistant, and from assistant engineer to engineer, Juliet Archer-Reeves took every step to become an engineer. With project management experience gained as she worked her way up from team member to team leader on safety audits, an opportunity emerged to work for Pell Frsichmann as Project Manager.

At first it was a challenge to understand how Frances’ experience and aspirations of environmental consultancy would fit within an engineering consultancy. However, Pell Frischmann have been accommodating in her working towards achieving Chartered Environmentalist through CIWEM, a professional body more suited to the work and interests she has. To strengthen her educational background, Pell Frischmann have also sponsored Frances to complete a part-time MSc in Hydrology and Climate Change successfully.

Working for eight years for a local authority as a highway engineering assistant, Nicola Sims demonstrated the ability to move over from the client side of developments. Her profound interest in project management has taken her from the design stages within her previous job to a project administration role, which will allow her to climb the career ladder to becoming a project manager.

And how have they found their journeys?

 “It has been a journey, I feel it has given me an advantage as project manager, I understand how things are built and designed, which allows me to easily see how a scheme can be put together in terms of time and cost, giving me a unique advantage.” - Ben Gadsby

 “The office has been very busy as we are a very small team, I thought I was going to be out of my depth due to the change in systems and processes from the company I came from, but I don’t because the team have been very supportive.” - Nicola Sims

 “What has driven me is that you come across people in a position above you and think I can do that or I want to do that, and I think that is a driving force. The next step up from where I was is to become a principle engineer and then associate - and from there onwards.” - Juliet Archer-Reeves

“I have had the opportunities to work on a variety of projects over the past three years which has helped me understand the industry more and know where I wish my career to progress. I hope to enhance and focus my understanding and experience in environmental assessment and use this to gain chartered status in the coming years”. – Frances Hamilton

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