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Esther Nankivell interviews Andrew

Engineering interview conducted by Esther Nankivell using Skype

I interviewed my Uncle Andrew who lives in Australia, he chose engineering because he liked building things from a young age, and he played with Lego.  When he got bigger he enjoyed woodwork and metalwork at school and at home he took apart a washing machine to see how it worked. After going to Aston University to get a degree he became a civil engineer. 

I asked him what a civil engineer was and he told me before the 1800’s there were military engineers who worked in the army and civil engineers who built roads, railways, bridges and boats. Civil engineers now, make roads, railways and drainage systems whereas structural engineers build bridges and mechanical engineers build trains and cars roughly speaking.  

Uncle Andrew said the three highlights of his career so far were 

  •  A jubilee line extension project on the underground
  •  Designing parts of Knightsbridge station on the underground and then overseeing it being built
  •  Leading a team of 15 when he designed a tram in Adelaide in South Australia

As an engineer he said he would like to see more public transport being available to all in the future. 

I asked him if it was easier to work as an engineer in Australia rather than England and he said it was just different problems in the different countries. He gave an example of building a road. In England there are more people and homes may have to be destroyed and this would have an effect on people. In Australia they would have to consider the plants and wildlife and maybe how they would have to protect it.

When I asked him what had prepared him at school he told me that maths and physics were the two lessons that prepared him for his job [they were also the lessons that he favoured].Uncle Andrew also said lessons that involved problem solving had helped him at school. He also said following a question [engineering Btecs can lead to university, do you think these are good] that practical skills can be acquired when completing Btecs.

Another question I asked was that if he could return to school would he choose engineering as his job, he replied that he would choose engineering again for many reasons. He said engineering can suit a wide variety of people and he asked me if I might be an engineer when I was older. He also said, after a question, that it was easier to find work in Australia than England because the unemployment rate in Australia is 5% which when compared to the English unemployment rate of 7.7% shows that the English unemployment rate is much worse than the Australian unemployment rate.