Lewis's Story - Graduate

As a graduate Civil Engineer, Lewis has worked on a variety of projects developing his skills and abilities. Find out why Lewis loves being an engineer and why the energy and utilities sector is a great sector to work in. 

Lewis Hipwell, Civil Engineer, McNicholas

Lewis Hipwell, Graduate Civil Engineer, McNicholas

What do you do and where do you do it?

I have had the opportunity to be involved in multiple disciplines with McNicholas including:

Rail Operations – delivery of large railway civil and electrical projects. Civils’ Operations – Multi-utility projects including utility diversions for the Bank Station Capacity Upgrade project and, Delivery of a Wind Farm with works including turbine foundations, road networks, HV & LV installation and Water Mains. Design – Including railway civils’ designs and civil enabling design works for electrical installation on our UKPN framework contracts.

My job has taken me all over the South of England, while I primarily operate from either our Elstree or London offices.

What does an average day consist of?

My days a split roughly 50/50 between the office and a site environment. As a graduate engineer I am often given the opportunity to step up into other roles, taking on Site Management or Construction Management roles. I frequently engage with clients and stakeholders to resolve problems such as design, three party interface or constructability issues.

Why is your role important?

Although I undertake a slightly different role on each project I work, as an engineer I play a pivotal role in ensuring the delivery of each project. When working in the Civil team, I was often acting as the client’s first point of contact and providing solutions to potential issues before they arose.

Within the Design team I took ownership of a number of projects and ensured the designs were delivered to the clients requested timeframe and quality.

“Every day is different and poses problems to solve, and that is what I really enjoy.”

Which parts of the job do you enjoy most/ find most rewarding?

Problem Solving – I’m constantly required to solve problems, these are anything from finding a new design solution to how we are going to access a site in order to deliver the works. Every day is different and poses problems to solve, and that is what I really enjoy.

What degree did you do? What made you choose it?

I studied BEng Civil Engineering (Hons) at the University of Portsmouth, which allowed me to secure my role as a Graduate Civil Engineer. I am currently undertaking an MSc in Civil Engineering at the University of Greenwich, as it is a requirement in order to achieve Chartered Engineer status.

What do you think of the career prospects? Have you had much training and development?

I am being encouraged and mentored as much as possible to achieve my goal of becoming a Chartered Engineer. I have undertaken various training throughout my graduate programme. I have had the opportunity to tailor my training along the way, undertaking additional roles such as Temporary Works Coordinator and commencing my Masters.

Would you recommend your job to a friend and why?

I would definitely recommend my job to anyone who enjoys solving problems and looks forward to a career where every day is different.

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