Meet TfL's rising stars

The annual TfL Graduate Awards is an evening to celebrate the achievements being made by those on the graduate scheme. Amongst the 30 impressive submissions, three winners were selected.

As proud sponsors of the awards, we took the chance to speak to the winners about their experience in engineering and the highlights of their time working at TfL.

First place: Sam Jones

Sam Jones

On his route to engineering:

“I’ve worked on constructions sites since I was young, starting as a labourer in a plumbing firm at school. I went on to study Biology at the University of Manchester, worked for a year and then completed my MEng in Civil Engineering. What originally inspired me were the projects and having a tangible asset, something that’s yours that you built.”

On his future aspirations:

“I hope to get Chartered within the next year or two. I really like rail and I think I’ll stay within this area because of the great opportunities that are coming up, especially in London.”

On his project submission, which won him the award:

“My report covered a structures project in North West London. There were the emergency works over Christmas at Embankment. I had to cancel my annual leave, mobilise a team to come up with a temporary works design that could hold up the earth that was going to potentially move down and cause a derailment. I had to do this in two weeks and that was what I wrote about. I am very proud of this as it was my concept to do a temporary works design.”

On the new engineering skills he has learnt the past year:

“After I finished with earth structures I started doing a tunnelling project, which I’d never done before. I had to learn about different standards and a lot of contractual issues. I’ve also learnt how to work with contractors to make feasible solutions to costs and problems.”

Second Place: Peter Gow

Peter Gow

On his inspiration to become an engineer:

“A family friend of mine is an engineer and he was a great role model for me as a child. He started talking to me about engineering and it sounded really interesting. My dad is also a chemical engineer so it’s in the family. I was good at the related subjects at school and so I was always naturally heading in that direction.”

On his future aspirations:

“I now work on the Northern Line extension which is a really interesting project and has inspired me to work on new stations and infrastructure. I also don’t just want to work in the UK. I’ve lived abroad before and now I want to take what I learn and use it all over the world.”

On his project submission, which won him the award:

“My project was a Victoria Station upgrade, which is a £500m project that London Underground is currently undertaking. It’ll take about 8 years to deliver and includes building a new entrance and lots of tunnels to connect the existing station. Because of the amount of pedestrians around that area it was extremely frenetic and the part I was most proud of, was that we had a five day window where we had to try and shut down an existing line, dig up the whole track and relay a whole concrete slab so afterwards we could dig up underneath it. It was a tight timeframe, working over Christmas and on Christmas day but it was so rewarding. I hadn’t worked under that kind of pressure before but everyone pulled together to make it a success.”

On inspiring young people to choose a career in engineering:

“I am a STEM ambassador and I think it’s really important to get the kids interested. Some of these projects are huge, they look really impressive and make people think it’s unachievable for them. To try and inspire them you have to bring these projects into schools and to show them the principle about digging a hole or tunnel or building a bridge. It’s the same as a child digging at the beach or the principles of trying to build something out of paper maché. It’s no different, the basics are there and everyone understands them as a child and it’s fun. That’s exactly what we do, we build and dig tunnels and if you love that element of problem solving and trying to build then civil engineering and engineering in general is the career for you!”

Peter Gow wins the raffleAs well as coming second place, Peter also had the winning raffle ticket and received an iPad generously donated by Paul Lloyd from specialist accountancy firm Brooksons. All proceeds from the raffle went to one of Matchtech’s chosen charities, Friends of PICU.

Third place: Danielle Nutt

Danielle Nutt

On her route to engineering:

“I didn’t originally think of engineering as a career; I was always very good at mathematics in school, so when it came to choosing a university degree I thought I’d do maths or physics. However, when I visited University of Exeter, which is the university I ended up going to, I went to a tour of the physics department and somehow found myself in an engineering talk. All the lectures sounded amazing, which made me realise this was where I wanted to be. So I did four years in engineering and then joined TfL’s graduate scheme.”

On her project submission, which won her the award:

“My main report was in strategy and planning, which was about a lot of different schemes for the next couple of years including public realm and road schemes. It was about helping the London Boroughs to deliver that and a large part of it involved working with the central seven boroughs, working mainly with Lambeth, Southwark and Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. There were about 10 – 15 projects in my full report.”

On the new engineering skills she has learnt the past year:

“I have really developed my soft skills in an engineering project – how to manage contractors, stakeholders and those relationships – which is something I didn’t learn in my degree.”

On inspiring young people to choose a career in engineering:

“For me, the main thing would be to expose young people to engineering earlier. I was doing maths and physics and engineering didn’t come into it. Mathematicians and physicists are excellent but engineering is the practical side of that. Engineering is the side where I can see a physical result and the main thing is showing young people who are interested in this path that there is a creative side to this career as well.”

If you’re interested in a career with TfL, view our available jobs here.

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