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Member of the Month
Naomi Lawrence EngTech MIHE
- Tuesday July 20, 2021
Assistant engineer, Design Team, Cheshire East Highways (Ringway Jacobs)
What inspired you to become an engineer?
I started in the highway industry as a permit technician. Once I gained an understanding of what the different areas were within Ringway Jacobs I gained an interest in learning more around
civil engineering and design. As it was something new, and a challenge, I became very passionate about becoming an engineer and progressing my knowledge and experience. I wanted to prove to myself and my peers that I could do this.
What made you join the IHE?
I joined the IHE at apprentice level while I was completing my ONC Level 3 in Civil Engineering. My tutor suggested this to me while I was on my course as it was the most suitable professional Institute for the work I do. I have been a member for over three years and I am also EngTech registered for over two years.
Has professional registration benefited your career and your employer?
Yes as I have more opportunities for progression within the company I work for. Being registered has helped me get the position in the company I am now. Registration has helped me access more information, CPD events and training courses. It has helped me increase my knowledge within the workplace and improved my confidence.
Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
Don’t hesitate, just do it. Take the chance and leap. I didn’t realise I was ready to achieve this until it was suggested to me; within four months I had achieved my EngTech. Research it, go through the information provided, refer to schemes/projects that you have already completed, find your areas and gaps that are missing and work on them where possible. I am lucky I have a mentor at Ringway Jacobs who pushes me to keep progressing.
Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
I am an assistant engineer for the Design Team with Cheshire East Highways (Ringway Jacobs). I started this role in January. The role involves providing technical support for design schemes for Cheshire East Council. I design schemes with the use of AutoCAD and associated software such as Keylines and Keysigns, to produce detailed drawings issued to contractors to complete the works required. I also ensure the requirements under construction, design and management (CDM) for each scheme are produced for the site works. This includes assessing traffic management requirements and collating the statutory undertakers’ service plans, such as United Utilities, telecommunications and electricity, which are present in the area. My role includes legal processing of traffic regulation orders (TRO) to ensure all the relevant documents are approved before the installation of restrictions are implemented. This includes parking restrictions, school keep clear markings, parking bays and speed limits. I ensure the relevant documents are advertised accordingly and that the legal orders are sealed to make sure schemes remain on programme for construction.
Can you describe a typical working day?
I log on, check emails, then go through a to do list so I meet deadlines for my tasks. A lot of my work is related to legal processes as I deal with TRO schemes, so I make sure all documents are correct and designs are completed to specifications and standards. I ensure the programmed works are on schedule to be completed by the correct date, and support engineers in the team with any tasks required such as statutory undertaker plans, pre-construction information/health and safety. I also respond to residents’ enquires or any objections to TRO schemes when they have been advertised.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
Problem solving and working on AutoCAD, drafting designs for schemes that are being installed. Being able to see the work on the ground once done is enjoyable.
Is there a great professional achievement that you would like to tell us about?
Before I started working for Cheshire East Council, I joined the Prince’s Trust as I had confidence issues. This helped me to secure an apprenticeship (originally in business admin) which led to
securing a permanent position within the council after 18 months. I won the Young Achiever of the Year for the North West 2013 award for how much I had progressed from 2010 to 2013, which gave me the confidence to keep progressing. I was nominated by my tutor for Apprentice of the Year in Civil Engineering and the Built Environment while I was finishing my Level 3 ONC. This was for both South and West Cheshire College and I won in March 2018 (I was the only woman in this category).
What do you consider the biggest challenges facing the highways and transportation industry?
Reduced budgets but with more works required; also reducing CO2 emissions.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I would like to progress to engineer level in the next five years, or around that timeframe but I am also currently working towards IENG registration, which I will hopefully achieve in the next two years.
Do you participate in any other career-related activities or membership of other engineering groups?
I am now part of the North West Branch IHE Committee Meeting.
Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I like to play online games such as World of Warcraft and Minecraft. I also exercise at the gym four times a week. This really helps me to unwind after a busy day at work and promotes my positive mental health. I also used to be part of a drama group but due to COVID-19 it is currently on hold.
What else might you have done for a living if you didn’t enter highways?
I would of still being working in business administration as that is where my career started when I was 18 years old. I chose the highways industry as I wanted to have a new challenge and learn something new. I had outgrown the job I was doing and was ready to take the next step to try to progress my career in a different area.
What do you like about the industry and what would you like to see change?
There is a lot of variation within the industry, a lot of different companies that you can learn from and progress within. A change in communication is key for the industry to grow and improve, sharing of information knowledge and experience.