Civil and Structural Engineering
Civil engineers work on the infrastructure that keep our lives running smoothly, from water supplies to roads, while structural engineers are involved in designing, building and maintaining the structures that make up our built environment. This includes bridges, houses and even things you might not think of, like rollercoasters and oil rigs.
Behind all of our most iconic landmarks, as well as the infrastructure we often take for granted, there are civil and structural engineers, and by studying civil and structural engineering at university you will gain a unique opportunity to shape the landscape we live in.
Andrew graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering and is now studying for a PhD at the University of Sheffield.
I'm currently in the final year of a four-year PhD course called E-Futures. The course brings together researchers from all engineering, science and some social science departments to undertake research into low-carbon energy. In the first year of my PhD I had the opportunity to work on three energy projects with real companies. I worked with a London based consultancy, conducted an energy audit for a multi-national chemical company on site, and worked with a local Sheffield social enterprise measuring the carbon-footprint of their product.
After this I moved into the Management School to conduct a project into how sustainable development can be measured in aviation.The thing that I enjoy most about my role is that I have independence and can dictate the direction of my project. My research means that I get to travel around the country and meet stakeholders within aviation, such as airports, local politicians, engineering companies and environmental groups. It makes my research feel very tangible and practical.
I've recently set up a social enterprise with two other PhD students called The Energy Community. We established this after attending a four-day business competition where we came up with the idea. Recently we won a £5000 development grant to help bring the business to the market. This has opened up a whole new range of experiences and opportunities from business plan writing to pitching, and website tendering to brand development; new skills and experiences that I would not have imagined I would be developing 12-months ago.
Alice graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering with Spanish and now works as an engineer for Interserve Construction.
I work within the Strategic Projects Division, which involves managing construction work on projects across the UK. I'm often based on site and my role includes reviewing drawings from designers, planning and recording the progress of works, checking the quality of installations and devising solutions to design and build problems.
I got my current role after completeing a graduate scheme with Interserve. Prior to starting my degree and throughout the first semester, I applied for numerous summer placements and sponsorship opportunities with engineering consultancies and contractors, to try to get some hands-on experience lined up.
Through the University of Sheffield's own application system (set up to allow students to apply for placements with companies they have links with) I successfully gained paid summer work experience, which then led onto sponsorship, further placements and a graduate job. Putting in the effort early to get my foot in the door really paid off as I didn't have the stress of applying for jobs alongside my final year studies; and I had three summers of work experience under my belt too.
I love my job because every day brings new experiences and challenges and because the people I work with make it great fun. Whenever a job is completed and handed over there is an amazing sense of achievement from seeing a building I helped to create completed and in use. In the not too distant future, with a few more years experience behind me, I plan to be running a site myself. Shorter term, I am looking forward to seeing my current project right through from the early stages to completion.