I Got Hired: Graduate Structural Engineer at Arup

Posted on: 9 April 2020 in Graduate stories

Niall graduated MEng (Hons) Civil & Structural Engineering degree from the University of Liverpool in 2019. He is currently working as a Graduate Structural Engineer at Arup.

What has been your best experience while studying your course at the University of Liverpool?

For me, Civil and Structural Engineering is an inherently vocational career, I therefore found the most useful experience on the course our final year capstone project. I studied an MEng, which is an integrated masters course not a post grad. The project set was to design a temporary aquatics centre to be placed inside a dock on the Liverpool waterfront of our choosing. The beauty of the Capstone project was two-fold: it allowed myself and course mates to apply our knowledge from multiple modules over the course of the last 3 years of study, and, it allowed us to do so in a pseudo construction project from concept designs all the way through to detailed design.


Which aspects of your course do you think have been the most beneficial to your career development?

I am now working as a graduate Structural Engineer, therefore the most useful aspects of the course for me revolved around the design and analysis of infrastructure, although, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy or find useful other aspects of the course. Designing Structural members, from Steel Trusses to Timber beams, concrete slabs to masonry walls, these are the parts of the course I have found most useful. The one part I would like to make clear though is I would advise students to not just look at the purely technical aspects of the course they are studying, seek to develop softer skills and keep an eye out for developments in other fields.


Can you please share an insight into your current role and if this was supported by your time at the University of Liverpool?

I am in a more favourable position I believe then if I had studied certain other courses. Engineering, and more specifically structural engineering, is a vocational subject, my work now follows directly on from university. I have found that the course I studied at Liverpool to be pretty holistic and well run, and, certainly feel I have been equipped for starting this new role directly following completing the university degree. Day to day, I help to design structures, generally buildings of all kinds of shapes and sizes, it brings me into contact with a very wide range of people from many different backgrounds, experiences, and passions. I have a lot to learn still and don't want to overplay my role, but I think I've settled in nicely into the team around me and am loving working and learning with them.


Do you have any top tips to share with future and current students?

I find that it is betterwhen writing a CV or doing an interview to look back on something you did, however small and talk about that. In interviews, the people interviewing you are human, so be human, talk about your thoughts and feelings and if it is to be, then it is. If not, then try again somewhere else. Be straight up with those you are dealing with.

What is the first thing that you think of when you think of the University of Liverpool?

To be honest makes me a bit sad and nostalgic, great times of change, hard bits, and good bits. I've made a wide variety of friends from all other the place all with quirks and beautiful things about them. I've studied a subject I love in a vibrant city and learnt many new things. Simply, I've developed as a person, it’s not down just to University of Liverpool, but, I loved studying there.

Random things that have popped into my head with that question are: guild burritos, Hamlet, Limestone Cowboys, 94, 2DCC, Engineering ball, Sphinx, Heebies (I liked it when it wasn't cool), Souljam (opening night - in Buyers’ Club 2015) etc. Probably this means very little to you all, that's partly the point I'm making, it's your own experience to have, it won't be like mine, it is different for everyone, but I hope you have as good an experience as I had.

Any other memories you would like to share from your time at the University of Liverpool?

I just wish you all well, if you are studying or soon will be at Liverpool, I stress this is your experience, make of it what you will, treat people nicely, appreciate the luck that has come your way and the opportunities afforded to you in having this place. Work on yourself, don't spend 100% of your time studying and don't spend 100% of your time partying, find the balance, its different for everyone. Good luck. Good luck. Good luck.