“I translate designs into the real thing out on site. That means drawing up elements on CAD, gathering co-ordinates and then marking out reference points to make sure structures are built precisely where they are meant to be. That’s known as setting out and it’s one of the most interesting parts of my job.
“I’m working on the Ordsall Chord for Network Rail, a rail link which will connect Manchester’s Victoria, Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations for the first time in history and provide improved links in the North of England. In just six months I’ve been involved with the widening of a Victorian viaduct and the construction of two weathering steel bridges. There are now trains running across the viaduct and it’s brilliant to know I was involved in its construction. I hope I’ll be able to show it to my grandchildren!
“One point where I was able to make a difference was when we were carrying out structural strengthening of masonry arches in the Victorian viaduct. Getting the drilling rig at the right height and orientation meant interpreting difficult angles on CAD, so that the site equipment could be set up correctly. Watching the new arches drive in and fit flush with the walls was a proud moment.
“Civil engineering is definitely a good career for people who like solving puzzles, but it doesn’t matter what background you have: I studied Forensic Science before joining Skanska!”