Take a Closer Look: Amber Hatch-Walling, Graduate Engineer

Over the next few months we will be shining a spotlight on some of our Graduate Engineers as we celebrate the Year of Engineering. Our aim is to take a closer look at those who have just started their Engineering careers – to find out what inspired them to choose this exciting career path, and to see how they have found life as an engineer so far! We’ve also thrown in a few questions just for fun…

This week we sat down with Amber Hatch-Walling, a Graduate Geo-Environmental Engineer who joined our Manchester office 7 months ago.

What area of engineering do you specialise in?

I specialise in Geo-Environmental Engineering. This incorporates the management of projects, site investigations, report writing, investigating geological strata, how to mitigate and assess natural hazards, the resolution of waste contamination, containment and remediation.

What is your favourite aspect of the job?

My job means I spend 50% of my time in the office and 50% on site, which I love as it gives me a varied experience and good overall knowledge. This then aids me in report writing as I find it much easier to relate to different aspects of various projects.

What has been the biggest achievement in your career so far?

Being able to manage various aspects and contractors on site whilst keeping the client in mind. This for me has to be one the most challenging aspects of my job.

What daily challenges do you face?

Being a young woman in the engineering industry can be very challenging, particularly on site where the majority of contractors are male. It’s easy to forget that when on site for investigations, you are the boss! Some people may feel uncomfortable at being instructed by a young woman, however in most cases all the contractors on site are friendly and are happy to help.

Completing reports along with arranging and organising yourself for site work can be challenging. There are many aspects to consider and vast amounts of equipment to remember.

Once on site it can also be a challenge to organise the contractors (mostly drillers) with their equipment and where they need to work. First of all, locations have to be marked out and scanned for potential services on site. This challenge increases when you have different drillers on site carrying out various drilling methods.

Where did you graduate from?

I graduated from Edge Hill University with a First Class Honours Degree in Geology with Physical Geography.

What subjects did you take at GSCE level?

At GCSE I took: English Language, English Literature, Science, Additional Science, Maths, I.T, Geography, Art and History.

Favourite school subject?

I enjoyed all of my school subjects, but my favourite would have to be Geography or Art.

Why did you become an engineer? What inspired you?

I was first inspired to become a Geologist by a college lecturer who I had an interview with whilst still at school. He suggested Geology to me as I enjoyed learning about the physical side of Geography, such as volcanics.

Once at college I found I excelled in Geology. It soon become my favourite subject, which inspired me to continue my studies at university. It was at University that I began to think about my future career and one of my favourite aspects of the subject was the engineering side, such as landslide mitigation.

My lecturer at university was an engineer before he began teaching and during a discussion about my future plans, he suggested a few options by way of a career path. It was after this conversation I made the decision to persue a career as an Engineering Geologist (Geo-Environmental Engineer).

If you could give your school aged self career advice, what would it be?

I would say, do something you love and enjoy as a career and then it won’t feel like work!

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

I love to listen to Classical Music.

Do you have any hobbies?

My hobbies consist of the gym, rock climbing, collecting handbags and bird-watching.

Favourite song?

Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

Favourite film?

The Holiday.

Finally, what are your goals for 2018?

My goals are to manage five different site investigations with more than two aspects on each. I would like to attend some additional training courses to further my knowledge and improving my report writing skills and I am also working towards becoming chartered.