"Within the company, there are always many opportunities for personal and technical development."
Since starting at Stantec, I have worked on a variety of water and wastewater engineering projects, ranging from feasibility to detailed design. I have enjoyed many opportunities to work autonomously and prove my abilities as a graduate. I have also found the support network of senior engineers is exceptional.
Following a placement at an engineering consultancy during my second and third years of university, it was clear that the project-based and civic nature of the work Stantec does was something that appealed to me.
I graduated in 2016 from the University of Warwick, with an MEng in Mechanical Engineering with Sustainability. My degree was a mixture of mechanical engineering focusing on automotive/aerospace/fluid dynamics, but also contained core business modules. I think this is important as ultimately an understanding of the wider social and business environment is crucial for engineers to succeed in whatever role they are placed. I was also very passionate about renewable energy and international development. Additionally, I was president of the University’s Engineers Without Borders society. This interest was supplemented by optional modules that I studied.
Traditionally mechanical engineering theory specific to the water industry is not a central theme of many university courses; I found that starting as a graduate required me to build a core knowledge base through practical application on real-life projects. During my time as a graduate, I feel I have been well supported in developing this understanding, with senior engineers always willing and able to answer questions that deepen my understanding of a topic. I think one key takeaway is that as a graduate you shouldn’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something, as it provides the opportunity to address the issue and progress from a technical standpoint.
Within Stantec, we have a vibrant community of graduates, offering lunchtime networking and technical sessions to develop awareness of the industry and the work our colleagues are doing. Here in High Wycombe, there is a good social environment within the office, and lots of opportunities to develop relationships with staff of all levels and disciplines.
I would highly recommend secondments to any prospective graduates looking at the water industry, as these are really the fastest way to develop competency. You must think on your feet, and be accountable for decisions, usually in a site-based environment. Often you will be based in a particular location but have the opportunity to spend time working within a client environment or on a specific construction project – I think these opportunities should be grasped at every opportunity.
I have been given lots of support in working towards my chartership with the IMechE and was quickly assigned a mentor who develops action plans with me to meet specific competencies, and reviews my quarterly and annual reports. Within the company, there are always many opportunities for personal and technical development.
Overall, Stantec is a fantastic place to work. The engineering projects we implement can improve communities and working here is a very rewarding experience.