Work Experience Blog: Abigael Royle

For my work experience week, I spent 5 days learning about what Curtins does, what role civil structural engineers play within the projects, and how all the different teams and jobs inside the company work towards designing the structure and contents of a building, with all the safety factors that need to be taken into consideration met. I believe that Curtins was the appropriate placement for work experience because it is a well-established and well-known company with a rich heritage and excellent customer service.

Throughout the five days I went to see different work stations in the office to give me an understanding as to what the different jobs do and how they all work together.

On my first day I was shown a short presentation on safety and what Curtins offers to clients and businesses, this gave me an idea as to what all the teams worked on. After the presentation I was taken to the engineering part of the office and introduced to my mentor for the week, Ciaran Allen. Ciaran then proceeded to give us a short presentation on structural engineering where I learnt about what kinds of different safety factors need to be taken into consideration when designing the structure of a building. I learnt how to work out loads, bending moments and shear moments of a beam and column and what different kinds of loads there could potentially be (e.g. permanent loads and variable loads) and how they should be included when calculating how much a certain beam of column can take before its bending moment is past a certain point. We were then given a small task to complete which included working out loads for a small building.

For the next two days I was taught how to use a popular computer programme called TEKLA. TEKLA is used by structural engineers to create structures for architects that have a plan of what they want the building to look like. TEKLA allows the engineers to confirm whether the plan the architecture has designed is safe; if it is not safe it’s also the engineers job to find a safe alternative that the architect is happy with.

I was then introduced to the technicians in the office who told me how they use a programme called REVIT. I found this very interesting and learnt how their job was to turn the TEKLA design into a more realistic 3D design.

I then learnt about the civils team and how they created and layout roads in programmes and worked with flood risks and water within the buildings and how to safely drain it into the ground.

It has also been my goal to become a structural engineer, from a young age I have also found building fascinating and during my early teens I developed a growing interest in the different structures and how they are designed leading to my decision to direct my academic career towards civil structural engineering.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my work experience week and believe it has given me an idea of what it is like to be a structural engineer and has helped me make a final decision as to what I want to study in university.