UWS graduate is helping to keep the railway network on track

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A UWS Civil Engineering graduate talks about her job ensuring the railways are safe during the coronavirus outbreak – and how it’s inspiring to see more women entering the industry.

Katie, 27, from Knightswood, studied the BEng Honours Degree in Civil Engineering at UWS, graduating in 2014. Katie told GlasgowLive.com: “When I was at secondary school, my favourite subject was maths, I loved maths and my strongest subjects were always maths and physics. I wanted to do something with maths in my career, but I wasn’t quite sure what that would be. I didn’t fancy being a teacher – I wanted to work in industry, and it was actually my teacher who inspired me to go and study engineering at university.”

“I think there’s definitely more women in engineering now… there have always been two or three females in the teams that I’ve worked in. Overall in engineering there are more men, but women are starting to come into the industry more and that’s a good thing, it’s good to have that mix.”

Following graduation, Katie started working straight away with multinational engineering firm AECOM.

“The job that I do, and the contract that I work on is called CAFA (Civils Assessments Framework Agreement) – that means looking at railway bridges, and assessing them, which is basically structural engineering.

“The CAFA contract is for our client, Network Rail, and it’s a really important one because it involves keeping the railways safe at all times, and because this work is critical we’re continuing with it during lockdown. We’re all working from home, because the offices are closed – we have regular team meetings or even if you just want a chat with someone to ask them a question, we use video calls to communicate. I’ve coped with working from home better than I thought that I would. I don’t know if its maybe the video chatting that has helped, because you still feel like you’re seeing people.

“We are still going out on site because it’s essential to do that, but AECOM and Network Rail are taking all the necessary safety precautions during the COVID-19, pandemic. There are lots of mandatory health and safety measures in place in this job anyway, so it’s just like another layer of protection, because of COVID-19.”

“Some key workers still need to use railways to get into work and trains are carrying freight and essential supplies across the country, so the railway is constantly in use and when we go back to normal, we will need the strong railway to be there, just like it always is.”

If you know of alumni making the news please contact Ewan O’Brien Alumni Engagement email ewan.obrien@uws.ac.uk

Read the full article: https://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/glasgow-news/glasgow-lives-lockdown-katie-27-18253724

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