Matthew Griffin works for top consultancy firm Mouchel. He tells us about the variety of the work he does and his tips for getting ahead in the industry.
What motivated you to get into engineering?
I studied geography, maths and physics at A Level and engineering seemed to fit perfectly. I did lots of research into it, including attending an introduction to engineering weekend at Loughborough University. From this I realised that civil engineering was for me – it suited my skills and was really interesting.
What does Mouchel do?
Mouchel is a consulting and business services group that provides many design, management and operational skills to transform and sustain public services and infrastructure. This includes highways, water, rail, waste, energy, government and business services and management consulting. I personally work within the water projects sector. Within this I could be working on flooding, drainage or maritime projects.
What do you think are the benefits of working for a consultancy?
A consultancy gives you the opportunity to progress as an engineer, whilst meeting your charter development objectives. Other benefits include working in an office – working as a contractor can require you to be flexible and move around the country as the projects dictate.
A large consultancy like Mouchel gives you support, training and chances to work on large exciting projects, which you may not receive in a smaller firm, but it may be more difficult to take on responsibility earlier unless you’re very pro-active.
Tell us about a typical day
My normal day varies dramatically depending on what type of project I am working on and what stage of the project we are at. I commonly produce reports, such as flood risk assessments, environmental impact assessments and drainage strategies. I could be working on hydraulic calculations or producing computer models of a watercourse.
Most recently I have been producing detailed design drawings to be used on site. There are frequent lunchtime presentations and graduate forums taking place, all helping contribute towards continuing professional development. Other days I could be out on site, assessing the location and details of the next project. I also play football regularly after work with colleagues.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the variety of my work, the range of projects I’ve been involved in and the different challenges each brings. Producing a positive output that you know will benefit the lives of many people and contributes to sustainable development is particularly rewarding. I also thoroughly enjoy the team-working aspects of the job. Working in a great team is a real motivator and I have certainly found this at Mouchel.
What’s the most challenging part of the job?
Meeting tight deadlines whilst fulfilling client expectations is always challenging and hard work, but also makes the job a little more exciting!
Do you have any advice for graduates?
Get some work experience. Find out what you like and what you don’t prior to graduating if possible. There are a large variety of sectors in civil engineering alone and it is crucial to find out which you want to develop your career in before you take your first full-time job.
Think carefully whether you want to work for a contractor or consultant and if you want to work in a large or small company. All will give you very different experiences. Work during your summers and if possible get some formal industrial experience within your degree. This will boost your CV, making you much more employable, and also give you great industry contacts enabling a smooth transition from university to work. Be proactive!
What qualities do you need to succeed in engineering?
The biggest attributes a civil engineer requires are problem solving, an ability to work in a team and a strong work ethic. These are crucial to your success as an engineer. A willingness to try new ideas is also welcomed, as the industry is always changing and progressing.
What’s the biggest myth about your industry?
That civil engineers are boring!
What does the future hold for you?
My initial aim is to get chartered in the next few years. In the longer term I would like to experience work overseas. It is also my ambition to get into management – both team management and project management and either rise through the ranks at a large firm such as Mouchel or run my own consultancy.