Where are you from, when did you do the ECE and what did you most enjoy about it?
After studying a BSc in Oceanography at Southampton, I went on to do the ECE course, because I like the application of coastal engineering where the oceans meets the people. This is something that I could really relate to and see the impacts and benefits of working in this region. I am originally from London, but spent a lot of time at the seaside whilst growing up, which is where I developed my interest in the ocean and coastal engineering.
What have you been up to since; and what does a day in your working life involve?
I graduated from the ECE course in 2009 and then started working for a small engineering consultancy, ENBE Ltd where we worked on projects worldwide, understanding coastal systems and developing coastal engineering solutions. I did a lot of work through ENBE, with HR Wallingford and was very involved with the physical modelling labs on site, and testing scour processes and scour protection. I really enjoyed the practical element of physical modelling and this lead me to wanting to experience what site work was like. I was seconded to Van Oord for 8 months, to work on the Liverpool 2 container terminal construction. This was a hugely different way of working and a demanding challenge, but one I enjoyed a lot. From this I went on to work for Van Oord directly and have been based on different projects throughout the UK since. I am always base on site, working with different people, vessels and projects, the nature of working on site, means that there are always new challenges to overcome. Currently I am working on a beach recharge on the Lincolnshire coastline, which is required as part of the flood protection measures. There is not really a typical day of working on site, because it depends completely on what type of project you are working on, where in the world you are working, what your role is and all these things will change from project to project.
Have you any advice to ECE students that have only just started the course, or recently graduated?
Look for opportunities to gain experiences, through placements, project visits, meeting people, seminars, reading about things going on, go to visit projects close to you. Keep an eye on the bigger picture, what is important to you, what is important to the industry. Coastal Engineering is an area that constantly needs enthusiastic people to come up with new and innovative solutions, to keep up with the changing world around us. Working on site is not an easy option, but it gives you freedom and responsibility from an early stage, and I believe gives you a great understanding of how things work.
Where do you think the industry is headed, how should that inform students?
The marine industry has become quite focused on Offshore Wind in recent years, with lots of new wind farms now finished or in construction phase. Project that we are involved in are also becoming more complex for example design and build contracts and also the number of work packages that need to be put together to complete the works. This means larger more diverse teams are needed to get the works done, with greater integration of different types of work disciplines. The industry has also changed a huge amount in relation to health and safety and the environment, and I think will continue to do so, looking for smart solutions to make work safer and greener.
You are involved in Young CEDA, can you tell us a bit about it?
The Central Dredging Association or CEDA, is an independent body for all parties involved within the dredging industry. In the UK we have CEDA UK, and there is a young division known as Young CEDA which has people involved internationally. The association’s objective is to share knowledge and carry out research within the dredging industry, forming working groups looking into various topics, for example recently about the beneficial use of dredged sediment. CEDA UK organises talks and seminars, often held in London at the Institute of Civil Engineers in Westminster. Within Young CEDA we try to promote the dredging industry and allow opportunities for young members to present their work and go on site visits.