Sinead George – Junior Structural Technician

Sinead George

Age: 21
Joined Hydrock: July 2016, aged 18 Studying: BEng (Hons) Civil and Environmental Engineering at UWE
Qualification: Construction in the Built Environment BTEC, Level 3 A-levels: Geography, Psychology, Science

Tell us about your studies Sinead

Through Hydrock’s contribution to the government’s Apprenticeship Levy, the company is funding my 5-year, part-time civil engineering degree course.

Because I chose not to study maths and physics at A-level, I completed a two-year BTEC Level 3 foundation course, also funded by Hydrock, to enable me to transition to the degree course which I started in September 2018. I’m at university one day a week.

How does the work/study balance work for you?

It’s brilliant and it’s full-on, but that’s to be expected. I like the fact that I can see how what I’m learning is applied in the workplace. I like the fact that my career is already underway, that I’m learning about the process of designing structures through carrying out my role as a junior structural technician and being part of a design team. And I like getting paid!

What’s been good about your work so far?

I work in a great team who are so supportive. They really help me to put my studies into practice by encouraging me to use things I’ve learnt in university, to carry out tasks which a structural engineer would typically be required to do in the workplace. My colleagues are happy to give their time to helping me understand things I’m studying at university. It’s also great to be studying topics at university which I may already have background knowledge on from my experiences in the workplace.

My current role at Hydrock is a junior structural technician. This means I get the opportunity to be directly involved in project delivery creating 2D and 3D structural drawings. I’ve been working from the start on a new school as the lead technician. It means I’ve been talking to the architect and will soon be involved in attending site meetings when the project is undergoing construction. It’s been great to be encouraged to take more responsibility for the projects I’m involved with.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

My ambition is to be a structural engineer. In fact, my long-term goal is to be involved in the design of bridges because I’ve always been interested in the structural design which ensures the stability of bridges. But, because I hadn’t studied maths and physics as A-level subjects I wasn’t sure I could follow this path.

The best piece of advice I was given was that if you want something badly enough, you can achieve it. Work at it, which in my case was through the BTEC course where I got distinction stars for the two grades, and you can make it happen.

Sinead, what piece of advice would you give to an 18-year old looking at their options?

Do your research. There are many areas to the overall engineering industry, so work out what interests you most of all.

If you’re creative, if you like talking to people, and if you’re organised, it’s a great career choice.

What do you like about Hydrock?

The company’s values were important to me. I like the fact that I’m given the freedom to develop my career in the way I want by choosing which course I attend and what level I wish to study up to. I have a great mentor in Tim Hoggins and really supportive colleagues around me. By working for Hydrock it’s given me the opportunity to move to Bristol which is a vibrant city for young people to live in.

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