I use science to work at Network Rail

Names: Laura Townsend Project Manager,
Peter Caulfield Project Manager &
Steven Riley Lead Engineer

Names: Laura Townsend Project Manager,
Peter Caulfield Project Manager &
Steven Riley Lead Engineer

Laura and Peter are engineering project managers and Steven is a lead engineer at Network Rail. Network Rail manages, develops and maintains British railways. Laura and Peter oversee numerous rail-related projects in South Wales, such as the redevelopment of the Swansea City Train Station platforms on which Steven is the lead engineer. All three work closely with each other and a large team of engineers, designers, architects and others to deliver developments of the railways.

Laura and Peter are engineering project managers and Steven is a lead engineer at Network Rail. Network Rail manages, develops and maintains British railways. Laura and Peter oversee numerous rail-related projects in South Wales, such as the redevelopment of the Swansea City Train Station platforms on which Steven is the lead engineer. All three work closely with each other and a large team of engineers, designers, architects and others to deliver developments of the railways.

If we didn’t have scientists, we wouldn’t be able to come up with solutions for problems that don’t yet exist."

Steven Riley

Peter: My days vary. A lot of time is spent in the office but also a lot of time spent on site making sure projects are being delivered correctly.

Laura: Every day is different, really. It could be a mixture of meetings, site visits and shifts on sites.

Steven: If we didn’t have scientists, we wouldn’t be able to come up with solutions for problems that don’t yet exist. We’re always delivering, we’re always re-engineering, we’re always looking to make something better, lighter, stronger. Science always comes down to improving what you’re doing.  

Peter: I was always had an interest in the sciences. I couldn’t profess to being particularly good at them. I had very enthusiastic teachers. My mind was always open to learning things. I’ve always enjoyed maths.

Steven: I’m actually dyslexic. When I was in school, science and maths weren’t my strongest points. That’s why I went down the avenue of engineering.

Laura: Growing up, my aunties were role models. Even though they had families, they had jobs which were important and construction based…and they were very successful, and managed to balance that well.

Laura: Don’t be swayed by stereotypes of the sort of people that ‘do’ science. I work with a wide range of different people doing the same job. There might be a bigger variety of jobs out there that you’re not even aware of at the moment.

If we didn’t have scientists, we wouldn’t be able to come up with solutions for problems that don’t yet exist."

Steven Riley

Peter: My days vary. A lot of time is spent in the office but also a lot of time spent on site making sure projects are being delivered correctly.

Laura: Every day is different, really. It could be a mixture of meetings, site visits and shifts on sites.

Steven: If we didn’t have scientists, we wouldn’t be able to come up with solutions for problems that don’t yet exist. We’re always delivering, we’re always re-engineering, we’re always looking to make something better, lighter, stronger. Science always comes down to improving what you’re doing.  

Peter: I was always had an interest in the sciences. I couldn’t profess to being particularly good at them. I had very enthusiastic teachers. My mind was always open to learning things. I’ve always enjoyed maths.

Steven: I’m actually dyslexic. When I was in school, science and maths weren’t my strongest points. That’s why I went down the avenue of engineering.

Laura: Growing up, my aunties were role models. Even though they had families, they had jobs which were important and construction based…and they were very successful, and managed to balance that well.

Laura: Don’t be swayed by stereotypes of the sort of people that ‘do’ science. I work with a wide range of different people doing the same job. There might be a bigger variety of jobs out there that you’re not even aware of at the moment.

Career Path

Civil engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with public infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, railways, pipelines and more.
That means that electrical engineers, structural engineers, mechanical engineers and other disciplines are required for projects.
So, the routes into civil engineering are just as diverse. Subjects to take at school which will most help on this career path are Science, Maths and English, but can also include ICT or Computing, Design & Technology, Physics, Maths and Art (design can be a big part of construction!).
The main routes into civil engineering are:

Apprenticeship

Many engineering companies, including National Rail, offer apprenticeships that let you work and train whilst being paid. Some schemes may pay for your further education such as a foundation (a sort of ‘pre-degree’) or full degree. Paid apprenticeships are competitive, so GCSEs in English Language, Maths and Science at grades 9-4 will be important.
 

Higher National Diploma (HND) at college

Diplomas in construction or engineering can help you to get work at an entry-level, trainee role from which you can continue to work and train.
 

University Degree

Degrees in engineering or civil engineering will often find you work placements during your studies. To get onto these courses, you’ll probably need 2-3 A-levels in maths and a science. You can also study a different degree in a related subject such as maths or physics, and then do a shorter qualification to specialise into civil engineering afterwards.  

Apprenticeship

Many engineering companies, including National Rail, offer apprenticeships that let you work and train whilst being paid. Some schemes may pay for your further education such as a foundation (a sort of ‘pre-degree’) or full degree. Paid apprenticeships are competitive, so GCSEs in English Language, Maths and Science at grades 9-4 will be important.
 

Higher National Diploma (HND) at college

Diplomas in construction or engineering can help you to get work at an entry-level, trainee role from which you can continue to work and train.
 

University Degree

Degrees in engineering or civil engineering will often find you work placements during your studies. To get onto these courses, you’ll probably need 2-3 A-levels in maths and a science. You can also study a different degree in a related subject such as maths or physics, and then do a shorter qualification to specialise into civil engineering afterwards.  
Find out more
Network Rail has a webpage for school pupils about science and maths in railway building. Find it here.
The Institution of Civil Engineers has lots of resources and information about their related professions and how you can become one. Find out more here.

Find out more

Network Rail has a webpage for school pupils about science and maths in railway building. Find it here.
The Institution of Civil Engineers has lots of resources and information about their related professions and how you can become one. Find out more here.