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Alex Aherne

Highways Engineer

"WSP has the variety of work and expertise available to enable you to pursue whatever interests you most."

I have been in Highways at WSP for almost 4 years, having started as an Undergraduate Placement Student and then coming back on the Graduate Development Scheme. 

In my time at WSP, I have worked on over forty different schemes across the country of varying size and complexity. Since joining as a graduate, I have carried out feasibility studies for new dual carriageways alignments – working out which fields and properties would have to be bought and where new junctions and bridges are to be located.

I’ve gone to site and watched drainage systems I’ve designed being constructed, and I’ve even designed cycle infrastructure improvement schemes for my local area. There are never two weeks that are the same in my role, and WSP has the variety of work and expertise available to enable you to pursue whatever interests you most.

Why should you join my team?

Why Highways?

There is so much more to Highways than some white lines on a bit of tarmac! The work we do is varied and shapes the communities we design it for. We do technical work such as highway alignment, junction design and drainage/signage schemes, as well as more commercial aspects such as project management and client facing work.

We are often the lead discipline on large multidisciplinary schemes, such as the Smart Motorway Alliance – and so we interact closely with our colleagues in the water, environmental, geotech and structural teams to name a few. 

Social activities?

Yes! Socials are organised both on an office and team basis in addition to regular events being organised by the Professional Growth Network (which is aimed at early career professionals such as grads). In the next few months my team has organised a cheese and wine evening, regular rock-climbing sessions, a day at the Goodwood races and a team curry night!

You also quickly get to know others who have joined the grad scheme with you via residential trips and training put on by WSP. This often leads to more ad-hoc lunches and after work drinks as well!  

Support network/opportunities to progress?

My advice to those considering Highways would be not to be put off if you’ve not had highway design experience at university. Our teams have decades of experience and are always there to support you and pass on their knowledge. WSP also supports you with becoming chartered - paying for membership to a professional body and providing opportunities and mentoring to progress through the attributes.

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