Certain professions have a certain vibe associated with them. Airline pilot for example. Firefighter perhaps? Food guru, travel writer, fashion designer. Dream jobs for dreamy youngsters dreaming about making a mark in life.
You might not normally place ‘structural engineer’ in this category. And yet, when it comes to making a mark, or leaving a legacy, or simply having the satisfaction of saying ‘I did that’, structural engineering seems a logical choice. Take Gustave Eiffel for example. Where would Paris or even France be now without his famous tower.
It was a desire to make a mark that helped guide Nicole Wood towards her career as a graduate civil engineer. And her decision to join Jersey-based company T&G Structural Engineers that really opened the opportunity to do so.
‘Growing up, I was fascinated by design and construction,’ reveals Nicole, who joined T&G early in 2019. ‘After studying architecture at university, I decided to focus on civil engineering, which leads to more specialist structural engineering opportunities. Ultimately, I would love to combine the creativity of architecture with structural engineering’s disciplines of analysis and enterprise. I want to make my mark through creating some unique, world class designs.’
For Nicole, T&G offers a perfect working environment within which to begin fulfilling this ambition. The company undertakes a wide range of projects, from small residential developments, through medium and large-size commercial constructions, on to extensive housing and retail complexes. Among more than 5,000 completed projects since opening nearly 30 years ago are many requiring innovative design solutions, today aided by cutting-edge computer-based technology.
‘T&G uses the very latest 3D modelling graphics and virtual reality applications,’ Nicole continues. ‘Like most working in this profession, I enjoy tackling complex design challenges. Our technology allows us to take these on, helping architects to innovate and clients to benefit from better understanding their finished structure before building work even commences.
Working alongside Nicole in T&G’s design team is structural engineer Cátia Caetano. Cátia joined the company in 2014 after completing a master’s degree at the University of Madeira and is now an Associate Director of the firm. Her inspiration for becoming a structural engineer stems partly from a family tradition of working in the construction industry. But she too is driven by a desire to make a mark through great design and building and sees no barriers to achieving this while working for T&G.
‘Go back a while and there were fewer opportunities for women in the construction industry,’ Cátia observes, ‘but it’s a very different picture now, particularly among professional roles. Many young people – both male and female – are interested in studying construction engineering or working in some other area of the industry. Our T&G team really represents this diversity. As well as Nicole and I working in design, we have Chantelle Gowers who manages our office. And we have a new girl recently graduated from Newcastle University on a summer placement. So definitely not only jobs for the boys.’
Whether male or female, along with wanting to make a mark, a career in structural engineering often starts through an interest in creativity and problem solving. A certain level of proficiency in maths and science helps the mix. Most will carry this interest through to university, studying engineering, or perhaps architecture or construction. Thereafter, growing experience and competence through workplace projects in a company like T&G creates a cycle of continuous professional development.
‘If making a mark is important, and you are interested in construction, I can recommend structural engineering as a career,’ concludes Cátia. ‘And I recommend T&G as a great structural engineering company for building that career up to new heights.’