Afzal Ginwalla

Engineering Graduate

"The business is constantly changing and developing to ensure the best service possible and you need to be resilient and open to this."

Degree studied:

  • MEng Civil Engineering (University of Manchester)
  • MSc Water Science, Policy and Management (University of Oxford)

Interesting fact about you:

I spent 8 years living in Zambia which inspired me to try and solve water issues. My MSc project involved a field trip to the peri-urban areas of Lusaka to see what issues were raised by the implementation of pre-paid water kiosks.

Why Thames Water?

Thames Water gives engineering graduates direct access to world-leading experts through the sheer scale of its major projects and the eight2O model. The attraction of resolving issues for one of the world’s leading cities was also hard to ignore. I guess it can best be summed up as a personal view that if I can solve it for London, then I can solve it anywhere. The early responsibility and ability to develop my leadership skills rather than just a focus on my technical skills was also a big factor in my decision.

You are given a large amount of responsibility fairly quickly, along with plenty of support. The programme allows you to immerse yourself in lots of critical experiences. This is through engagement in projects not directly related to the ‘day-job’ such as Water Innovators and professional development on offer from the MDP which allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and work to improve your all round ability to be a leader.

A typical day for me involves many different meetings on diverse pieces of work, with both internal and external technical experts as well as stakeholders such as the EA and resident groups. The day goes by pretty quickly so I make a point of keeping an hour free to step-back and focus on the big picture to solve problems.

What do you believe are the key skills you need to do be part of the programme?

You will need to be driven and ambitious but also flexible enough to deal with many different situations and stakeholders, both internally and externally. The business is constantly changing and developing to ensure the best service possible and you need to be resilient and open to this.

One thing you would tell yourself now if you were just starting the programme:

Get involved in more activities immediately, especially with WaterAid and STEM Outreach, it’s both a rewarding experience and you get to meet fantastic people and have a fun time.

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