Alisa Ahmad

I am a Trainee Civil Engineer.

My role as a trainee engineer is based on construction sites. I have been in the industry since 2019, and have worked primarily on Park and Rides. The majority of my time is spent setting out things using engineering equipment and coordinates. For example, I may have coordinates for setting out fencing, which tells me the exact location of where the fence will go. I then mark this out using a pin or spray paint to let operatives know where to place the fencing.
I also spend some time in the office creating diaries of what went on in the day, completing quality assurance sheets and ordering materials.
Not everything goes to plan on construction sites, whether it is wrong materials ordered or the design is incorrect, and it is also my job to use my initiative to create solutions for this. I will bring up any issues and updates on-site in weekly meetings.

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  • What does a typical day at work look like for you?

    My favourite part about my job is you are not doing the same job for too long and every day can vary. I prefer this as opposed to being behind a desk for the whole day.
    Generally, however, my day starts off with planning activities to complete for the day by looking at the weekly lookahead schedule which is usually decided in the weekly meetings. I also confirm this with the supervisor. Next, I go onto the construction site with my engineering equipment, set the equipment up and start to set out for the day. Some things I have previously set out are drainage, kerbs, solar panels and signs. Throughout the day, I will record any deliveries that arrive, complete my diaries and take pictures. Sometimes I assist the other site engineers with their work or section engineer. Once the day comes to an end, I bring the equipment in and ensure everything is safely put away and secure.

  • What advice would you give to your 15 year old self

    I was not aware of the civil engineering industry, so I would definitely educate myself on that! Even now I am still learning about the sector and how broad it is with many opportunities.
    I would also educate myself on other routes like apprenticeships to develop my career. I was very set on going to University but the apprenticeship has really helped me gain an insight into the industry.

  • Who or what inspired you to get into engineering?

    Roma Agrawa – Reading her journey was very inspiring and it amazes me how much she has achieved.

  • What are the best and worst things about the job?
  • Where do you see your industry in 25-50 years' time?

    The civil engineering industry will be even more advanced than it is now. There will be more technology in place to aid with setting out, monitoring and maintainece such as sensor-based IoT or drones. VR and other immersive learning experiences will be more common as it is not only more convenient but reduces any safety risks. Materials will be more ‘smart’ such as smart concrete. All these will also open more job opportunities or require more training for engineers. generally, the industry will become more carbon-friendly (hopefully) and have strategies in place to become more efficient.

  • What's the most amusing situation you have found yourself in at work?

    Construction sites at the start are usually just soil and very mucky. On more than one occasion when it rains, I have been stuck in the mud where I have either had to be shovelled out or pulled! One time I was alone and one foot was stuck in the mud, so I had to leave my wellington stuck in the mud, took my foot out, balance on one leg and pull it out!