They also create and maintain the infrastructure we depend on daily– our roads, railways, bridges, energy and water supply and our flood defences – keeping the networks running and adapting them to meet major challenges such as population growth, the effects of climate change and natural disasters like earthquakes.

Put simply, they have to innovate and come up with creative solutions to complex problems. There are many different ways to join the profession - and not all require a degree. Joining through the Engineering Technician route provides an opportunity to “earn as you learn” through an apprenticeship, and get on the path to a life-long, rewarding career.

Kate Matthews, Assistant Technician at Arup, has just completed her Technician Review with the Institution of Civil Engineers, following a 2 year technician apprenticeship. Kate, 27, is now a qualified Engineering Technician and can use the letters “EngTech TMICE” after her name.

Kate explains why civil engineering was the career for her, the benefits of an apprenticeship, and how she landed a role on a project in Kazakhstan…

Kate Matthews receiving her Engineering Technician ICE membership, with President Professor David Balmforth (Feb 2015)
Kate Matthews receiving her Engineering Technician ICE membership, with President Professor David Balmforth (Feb 2015)

What did you want to do when you were younger?

I wanted to be a designer.

So what made you become a civil engineer?

I’ve always had an interest in how things are put together and the construction industry appealed to me.

Some females are put off by engineering – not you?

I didn’t have the opportunity to find out much about engineering at school, so it wasn’t something I considered when deciding on my career.

From working in engineering, I’ve found that it’s as much as a career choice for women as it is for men. At Arup, there are many highly skilled female engineers.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship route?

I liked the prospect of being trained while I worked. Being able to study at the same time also aided my understanding of the many processes in my job.

Were there any challenges?

I put a lot of extra time into my studies and application to ICE, but all the hard work paid off!

Were your employers supportive?

Yes. I was surrounded by talented engineers who always had time for questions related to work or my HNC.

What would you say to others considering an apprenticeship?

It’s a good route to choose. I started with a basic understanding of engineering and during the last three years I’ve built a variety of new skills.

The world is continuously growing and changing. Engineering is something that will always be in demand - it’s a job where you get to literally shape the world.

What does your job involve?

I work with engineers to create 3D models and structural drawings of their designs. It’s great to see designs I’ve worked on being constructed – I feel proud to have been a part of it.

What is your career highlight?

The St. Regis Hotel and residence project in Kazakhstan - I was the lead structural technician during the project’s main design stages. My role involved creating a 3D structural model using BIM software.

How does it feel to use the letters EngTech TMICE after your name?

I feel proud to use EngTech and be part of an Institution that has been around for nearly 200 years.

What’s next for you?

I would like to work towards becoming a senior technician and ICE Incorporated Engineer status.


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