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Ebunife · Career Insights

Ebunife works with a worldwide engineering firm that provides design, consulting, construction, and management services to a wide range of clients. Here is an insight into her role as a graduate civil engineer.

How did your journey to your career begin?

I decided I wanted to a Civil (Structural) Engineer at the grand opening of the Burj Khalifa. I was on a family holiday and I thought it was most the magnificent thing I had ever seen.

What did you end up studying throughout college and university?

I studied A Levels in Maths, Physics, Economics and Biology. Following that a degree in Civil Engineering.

Do you consider your industry or be diverse? Or is there room for improvement?

I believe there is still a lot of room for improvement. Despite the push for diversity within the industry, it is not uncommon to be the odd one out in a group

What do you feel are some common misconceptions about your industry?

The biggest misconception about the construction industry I have heard of so far is that you need to be prepared to perform manual labour to work within it. To that I always reply that there is a wide range of roles you can choose from and that the requirements of that role will determine if you spend all your days on site or none at all. Another common one is that women have to toughen up to succeed. Everyone’s personality is different and this is acceptable and even encouraged. Like everything else in life, the industry needs a balance to create a conducive work environment.

What would you do in your typical days work?

I spend most working days at the office, designing various parts of structures (usually bridges) for new construction or maintenance schemes.

Are there any particular skills you think people should have to succeed in your profession?

Team working skills; you cannot be a lone Civil Engineer and learning how to tolerate, understand and work well with people of different backgrounds is vital.

What are the best and worst parts of your job?

One of the best parts of being a Civil Engineer is being able to show others projects you have worked on. The knowledge that my work will live on many years after I am gone and will reach parts of the world I otherwise might not be able to visit, makes it all worthwhile. The worst part of my job is not being able to enjoy a simple road (or train) trip. I often find myself looking out for structural defects and mentally assessing them during journeys.

Do you think enough young people consider your industry as oppose to others such as finance and law?

Up to university level, I think they do. However, afterwards, other industries appear more appealing for various reasons.

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