After having spent years of arduous work studying to reach your academic goals, you might feel like it’s time to sit back, take your foot off the gas and relax. However, most professionals in the structural engineering industry might say that reaching that academic goal is merely the first of many. It’s not likely to be plain sailing from the day you attain your qualification, in whichever segment of the construction industry that might be, as from now on more will be expected of you; there’s fierce competition for the best roles, tasks will vary and challenge your capabilities, and fresh opportunities will arise. Our guess is that you wouldn’t have it any other way.

With a combined figure of 40 years’ experience within both the civil and structural engineering industry, you could class our Directors as industry veterans, we wouldn’t recommend it, but you could… The mix of knowledge, innovation and consequent reputation within their field has enabled them to work on some fantastic projects with some inspiring construction and architectural partners.

With reputation comes the responsibility to develop best practice, upholding and raising industry standards, impart wisdom and lead from the front. Our MD, Rhys Skym, is one of the Professional Reviewers for the Thames Valley branch of the IstructE (The Institution of Structural Engineers). They meet regularly to interview new professionals emerging into the industry, many of whom have recently graduated from university. It can be a daunting, but hopefully an exciting process, to go from many years of studying, to being part of the industry, so part of Rhys’ role is to mentor, advise and prepare these individuals for gruelling interviews and newly attained positions.

However you choose to develop your professional know-how, it’s best practice to focus on the aspects that motivate you, the ones that you’re passionate about, as the process of self-development will then be less of a chore and more of a pleasure. For example, Rhys enjoys meeting fresh talent in the industry and his method of mentorship and interview style is a welcome addition to the IstructE panel. And fellow Director Russell Wrapson works with BIM every day and his drive and passion for the industry to fully adopt the process is of a huge benefit to BIM Regions. And of course, SWJ benefits greatly from having two motivated and content directors.

Russell has chosen to represent SWJ on the committee for the Oxford BIM Region, taking part in developing best practice and championing the use of BIM within the region, with the added bonus of gaining access to first-hand knowledge of BIM updates and opportunities within the area. BIM (Building Information Modelling), is gradually becoming more commonplace within construction, and SWJ are big advocates of its use, demonstrating regularly its importance and possibilities.

Here are some of the reasons to consider/continue to seek self-development opportunities:

  • Progression, whether it’s skill or knowledge-based, leads to greater job satisfaction
  • An increased skill set results in more difficult tasks becoming easier
  • Feeling confident and established in your professional abilities
  • Someone who evolves and improves within their industry is more notable to their employer and therefore becomes an obvious choice for promotions, new opportunities etc
  • Selling your abilities becomes easier for promotions, new jobs, salary increases etc when your efforts speak for themselves.

In an industry where one project can take multiple years to reach handover, the field equipment, technology and industry know-how can soon overtake your own knowledge. SWJ will continue to support our local industry professionals and appreciate the opportunity to have a hand in the professional development of others.