With a whole host of major projects on the horizon, it’s an exciting time to be working in the UK construction industry.
Back in December 2016, the government announced plans for over £500 billion worth of investment in infrastructure, with projects including the Thames Tideway Tunnel, the rollout of smart meters, and upgrading the A14. This, when combined with other huge projects such as Hinkley Point C and HS2, has opened up a wealth of opportunities.
Civil engineers are currently in high demand to help ensure these projects run safely, on time and within budget. If you want to put yourself ahead of the competition and take your career to the next level, there are a number of steps you can take to improve your civil engineering prospects.
Gain a professional qualification
An excellent way to improve your career prospects and boost your earning potential is to gain a professional qualification. For civil engineers, there are three qualifications you can have:
- Technician Engineer (EngTech)
- Incorporated Engineer (IEng)
- Chartered Engineer (CEng)
For an EngTech qualification you just need an approved level 3 diploma or an HND or foundation degree. However, most graduates will opt to work towards either incorporated or chartered status.
To achieve incorporated status, you need an accredited undergraduate degree or equivalent. While for chartered status, you need either an accredited MEng degree or an accredited BEng (Hons) degree with further learning, plus an accredited master’s degree.
Achieving one of these internationally recognised professional qualifications demonstrates to potential employers that you’re highly capable, experienced and committed, and can help take your career to the next level.
Join a specialist professional register
If you want to further demonstrate your expertise and mark yourself out as an expert in your field, you can apply to join a specialist professional register with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).
The ICE currently offers registers covering various fields, including the following:
- Dispute Resolution
- Ground Engineering
- Health and Safety
- NEC Professionals
- European Engineers
- Professional Engineers
- Reservoir Engineers
- Security Engineers
To join one of these registers, you’ll need to pass an assessment set by other specialists, testing that you have the required knowledge, skills and experience to be seen as an expert in that field.
Attend networking events
We all know the old saying, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. While this may not be entirely true in a career like civil engineering, where technical expertise remains the decisive factor, it’s never a bad idea to broaden your professional network.
There are various networking events you can attend, from the huge, nationwide ones to smaller, more locally focussed ones. Both give you an excellent opportunity to meet other professionals in your industry and keep up to date with the latest developments that could affect your career.
Apply for a CSCS card
A Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card is essential for anyone working on a construction site, with a range of different cards available depending on your role, level of experience and responsibilities.
As a qualified civil engineer, you’d be able to apply for the Academically Qualified Person (AQP) card. To apply for this card, you’ll need to supply a copy of your qualification and any evidence of the units achieved within the qualification.