Chris Carrier - Project Engineer - Geotechnical
What attracted you to a career in engineering, and to your specific discipline?
At school, I always enjoyed maths and chemistry and I have always loved being outside. I chose to study geology at university because of the large amount of fieldwork and the ability to have a career that doesn’t confine me to the office the whole time.
I didn’t realise that I could become an engineer with a geology degree, however my first job out of university was a driller for a site investigations firm. When I was onsite, I spoke to some of the engineers from consultancies and was introduced to the role of a geotechnical engineer and what that actually involved. I soon realised that it was something I would like to do as the next step in my career.
What made you choose Rolton Group?
Honestly, I didn’t know anything about Rolton Group, but a client from a previous project passed my details to them, and they got in touch and invited me to come in for an interview. This was a bit of good luck as I was applying for similar roles at the time and after a bit of research it seemed like Rolton Group would be the perfect company for me: small enough that I wouldn’t get lost within the company, but large enough to work on a range of projects for some well-known organisations. I was also impressed with how much they invest in their employees and provide the support for them to progress through the company, which is highlighted through the high staff retention rate.
Can you give any examples of projects you have been working on?
One of the most exciting projects I have worked on started on my first day! I carried out some intrusive investigations in an area in the middle of the Silverstone race track as they wanted some data to design the World Rallycross track for Britain. I have also carried out some site investigations in Basingstoke for the new, single lane circuit used at CarFest South (an annual motoring festival to raise funds for BBC Children in Need) in August 2018.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Definitely the variety in the role; my job really doesn’t have one task that is repeated, day after day. I also really enjoy interpreting the fieldwork data and really getting to know the patch of land and the materials it is made up of.
Has the company lived up to your initial expectations?
Yes, and then some! There is a reason a lot of the people have worked here for over 20 years: it is a very good place to work! Work-life balance as a graduate is excellent; the company invest in their young professionals to ensure they continue to develop and they also organise regular sports and social events outside of working hours.
What training and mentoring have you been offered/undertaken with Rolton Group and how have they supported you?
I am currently part way through my Master’s degree in Engineering Geology which is being funded by Rolton Group whilst I continue to work full time with day release. My colleagues are very understanding about this commitment and support me with extra study days if needed when deadlines approach. I also have bi-annual meetings with an external career development consultant who helps me set any future goals and a path to achieve them and progress as a young professional. For my day-to-day work, I receive feedback and support on the projects and reports I am working on, and if I ever have any queries, my team are always happy to help.
What are you career aspirations?
Ultimately, I want be as good at my job as I possibly can be and work my way up the company and become a chartered engineer. I want to thoroughly understand all of the components that come together to make a site, so that I can design fit for purpose ground investigations and compose reports that contain well-reasoned and solid interpretations and recommendations for the client.
How is Rolton Group helping you to achieve these goals?
My Master’s is definitely helping with this, but the support and advise from the more senior engineers in my team has really helped me progress. As I have gained more experience, I have also been given more responsibility, which has exposed me to greater challenges and allowed me to grow as an engineer and develop my skills even further.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to start their career in the engineering/built environment industry?
Make every effort to do some work experience or an internship before or during university – it is so important to get ahead of the rest of the field because it is so competitive, especially for graduate roles. I would also say be patient and don’t panic – you don’t have to land your dream graduate role straight after university, just make sure you get some relevant experience and that dream role will eventually come!