Rhiann Surgenor is a Local Highways Technician at Wiltshire Council. We previously spoke to her in 2018 when was she just beginning her journey into Engineering. To celebrate Women in Engineering Day 2020 we chatted to Rhiann again to see how her career is progressing.
I have completed my first Civil Engineering qualification – a HNC I paid for this myself after discussing career options with our HoS at the time, he encouraged me to start gaining professional qualifications, he explained this was the best way to move forward within the sector. I finished the HNC with Merit in 2019. Since then I learned about the Wiltshire Council apprenticeship programme, as the Council are levy payers I am able to undertake a full degree without having to pay for this myself! I wasn’t aware of this pathway before, but a degree in Civil Engineering will open up my career options. I am about to start Year 3 of 5 (as I already had an HNC I started at Year 2 instead of 1). I would usually attend UWE in Bristol but currently we are having lectures from home.
My day to day role includes; covering the highways around the Southern Area Board of Wiltshire, based from the Wilton office. Some of the things I am responsible for are investigating reports from members of the public on the My Wiltshire App, having pot holes filled, inspecting roads and footways and assisting police with closing roads when there are sadly car accidents. Some projects are still ongoing during the lockdown so I have been included in ensuring this is running smoothly, a new roundabout has been built in Wilton after a new housing estate has been constructed which is a larger project I have been involved with.
My advice to young women looking to Engineering as a career path is that if you think you are practical look into it there is something out there for everyone. Every day is different I have freedom and flexibility, and you will always be learning. Also going down the apprenticeship route means there are many options to choose from. It is natural to have doubts, I think that happens in all roles and there will always be someone that knows more than you, whether they are male or female, but most are willing to impart that knowledge and you can learn a lot from them.
For more resources and information visit International Women in Engineering Day website.