Hannah Reddaway

Chartered Engineer, AtkinsRealis

At my job, I’m like a building puzzle solver and overseer. I help design the structures of buildings and manage the entire process. I’ve worked on all sorts of projects, from homes and transportation hubs to energy facilities and defence structures. At the beginning of a project, I team up with architects to figure out how big the building should be and what it should look like. Then, I get into the nitty-gritty details, designing things like beams and connections. When it’s time to build, I visit the construction site to make sure everything is going according to plan. I also manage the project as a whole, keeping an eye on the budget, working with legal contracts, and making sure the right people are working on the project.

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

    My typical workday can vary based on the specific projects I’m involved in, but generally, I spend a couple of hours each day in meetings. During these meetings, I collaborate with colleagues, discuss project progress, and strategise next steps. The remainder of my day is dedicated to hands-on tasks. I engage in calculations to ensure structural integrity, mark up drawings to communicate design changes, and manage project resources efficiently. This mix of collaborative discussions and focused, detail-oriented work helps keep the projects on track and ensures that everything is progressing smoothly.

  • What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

    “Don’t let anyone else deter you or hold you back from pursuing what you truly want to do. Trust your instincts and have confidence in your abilities. When choosing your A-levels, take the time to think about your long-term goals. Engineering jobs often have specific requirements, so make sure your subject choices align with your aspirations.

    As you embark on your degree, remember to broaden your perspective. Consider the bigger picture and how your work and designs impact other disciplines. Collaborate with architects, mechanical engineers, and others involved in the project. Understanding the interconnectedness of various aspects will not only enrich your work but also make you a more versatile and effective professional.

    Believe in yourself, plan ahead, and embrace the learning journey.”

  • Who or What inspired you to get into Engineering?

    I was inspired to pursue engineering by a combination of personal interests and a desire for logical problem-solving. The fascination with building design, coupled with a genuine enjoyment of mathematics and physics, led me towards the field of engineering. The prospect of applying logical thinking to create innovative solutions in the realm of construction and design fueled my decision to embark on this rewarding journey. It’s the perfect blend of my interests and skills, motivating me to contribute to the world of engineering.

  • What was your route into engineering?

    My journey started with A-levels in maths, further maths, physics, geography, and economics, continuing with maths, physics, and geography through to A2. This academic foundation led me to pursue civil and structural engineering at the University of Sheffield, where I completed a combined master’s program.

    After graduation, I entered the professional realm by joining Atkinsrealis as part of their graduate scheme. Prior to diving into my career, I took some time off to travel and gain diverse experiences. Within five years, I achieved chartered status with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, I took a year’s sabbatical to contribute to my family’s farm.

    Currently, I balance my time working part-time with Atkinsrealis while continuing to contribute part-time to my family’s farm. This unique blend allows me to integrate my professional expertise with my agricultural roots, creating a fulfilling and varied career path.

  • What are the best and worst things about your job?

    The best things are the people and teams I work with, the positive impact I can make to projects and the variety of work. The worst things are the sometimes very tight deadlines.

  • Where do you see your industry in 25-50 years' time?

    I think the engineering industry is likely to see continued advancements in technology, including the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation. These technologies could enhance the efficiency of design processes, construction methods, and project management.

    Given the increasing focus on environmental concerns, the engineering industry will place a greater emphasis on sustainable practices. This could involve the development of eco-friendly materials, the implementation of green construction techniques, and a heightened awareness of the environmental impact of engineering projects.

    Additionally, the concept of smart cities, where technology is integrated to improve infrastructure and services, may become more prevalent. Engineers could be instrumental in designing and implementing the necessary systems for these smart urban environments.

  • How does your work relate to the sustainable development goals?

    As a structural engineer, integrating sustainable and resilient design principles, considering life cycle assessments, and adopting environmentally friendly construction practices are essential steps toward aligning my work with the SDGs. Additionally, collaborating with multidisciplinary teams and engaging with communities can enhance the positive impact of your projects on social, economic, and environmental sustainability.