Fortune - Graduate Drainage Designer
Working in Opus’ Hertford office sees me working as part of a wider ‘Whole Client Service’ in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council. I really enjoy working with engineers from different teams and developing relationships with clients and developers as it’s helping me to broaden my knowledge, skills and widening my networks.
Being given the opportunity to contribute to the team, providing engineering solutions with great autonomy and ensuring scheme delivery in line with council design standards motivates me and allows me to build confidence in myself.
Opus keeps me engaged with the effective delivery of highways drainage schemes, from investigation works, design, upgrade and through to completion, with multiple in-house and external training courses. Opus provides 40 hours of training a year for its employees which is a real benefit, and this year I’ve chosen to focus on training courses that allow me to do undertake drainage designs more effectively.
At Hertford, Opus offers the ability to move throughout the different teams to gain a wide variety experience and figure out what works for you. Currently I’m happy in my team and my future looks bright. I have all the support I need to do well and am hoping to become a chartered engineer in a few years’ time.
Dimitrios - Graduate Civil Engineer
The best thing about working for Opus is being on their rotation scheme, something that is unique to their office at Hertfordshire County Council, where I am based. It means over a course of 2 years I’ll get to understand how every team in the office works. Ultimately, this makes it easier for me to realise where my strengths lie and also provides lots of variety!
Currently I’m working in the Highways Major Projects team, which undertakes big scale projects to improve Hertfordshire’s highway network – after just only a few months, this is already my second placement.
That’s one of the reasons I decided to join Opus; it’s an international company with offices around the world with so many engineering disciplines. It’ll give me so many opportunities at this early stage in my career to find what area is right for me and, in the future, potentially travel around the world working on different projects.
I know Opus will support me in whatever I decide to do, especially when it comes to my professional development. The most important thing for me at the moment is to gather as much experience as I can to eventually become a Chartered Engineer, something I know I can achieve as part of Opus’ Graduate Development Programme.
Jacob - Graduate Structural Engineer
At Opus, the thing I value most is the people I work with. From graduate to director level, everyone is extremely welcoming and encouraging, and genuinely wants to see you succeed in your career. It makes working at Opus that much more enjoyable.
My role is Graduate Structural Engineer and as such no two days are the same. Some days my role is office based and I’ll be undertaking structural design work, and others require me to be carrying out site inspections. It’s this variety that creates ultimate job satisfaction for me.
Not only have I been offered multiple opportunities to develop my own skills and training since joining as a graduate, but I have also taken on the role of ‘Global e-Training Champion’ for the Fareham office. The role primarily looks at offering AutoCAD related self-learning courses and managing all the participants, helping them to progress with their training. The role has helped to prove to myself and others that I am capable of taking charge and handling management positions, whilst still being at a relatively early stage in my career.
I really enjoy giving back to others and seeing them learn; something that is especially rewarding when I have helped at careers fairs for young pupils. I enjoy being able to pass on what I’ve learnt, and to see pupils genuinely interested in engineering and what Opus do means so much to me.
Steve - Associate Director
As Associate Director of the Buildings Structures team, I assemble and manage the teams that undertake our projects out of the Cardiff office. It can at times be a challenging role but that’s also what makes it enjoyable; finding solutions that will ensure client satisfaction and efficient service delivery.
I’ve been responsible for the delivery of a number of landmark buildings, one of which was shortlisted for a World Architecture Festival award for Structural Engineering, where I presented the project at the ceremony in Barcelona. The opportunities that a career in engineering can bring really are endless.
I originally worked for a small consultancy before it was acquired by Opus. Training opportunities were limited there, however since my beginning with Opus I’ve had the ability to greatly increase my skill set, gaining a Project Management qualification through the Association for Project Management and even travelling to New Zealand for an in-house leadership course.
Because of this I’m able to manage my team with a certain level of autonomy, knowing that Opus encourages and supports me to act on my ideas and initiatives. I see a lot of potential in the building asset management sector in the UK, and am really looking forward to working on tying in Opus’ services to cover the whole life of assets.
Nikki - Engineering Assistant
Some days I will be out on site taking measurements, other days discussing issues with local residents, and of course I spend time in the office designing a scheme based on data I’ve collected onsite. It's the variety that's the best thing about working in the Integrated Transport Projects and Safety (ITP) team at Hertfordshire County Council.
As an Engineering Assistant I work on a variety of highway schemes that can cover improving walking routes to school, providing engineering solutions to allow for school crossing patrols and traffic calming schemes. Though they are all different in their own way, they all possess individual problems that need solving. I enjoy finding a way through them, from feasibility through to delivery, and interacting with local residents that are positively affected by work I have done gives me enormous amounts of job satisfaction.
In ITP we work with a variety of teams across the service, but a huge part of the job is liaising with County Councillors, residents and local schools to help find solutions to problems they may be having with their highway. We always endeavour to find the best solutions because we know we are making a difference to people who live in our area.
It’s great to know, when finding these solutions, that we have the full support of Opus as part of a global organisation. The potential to share knowledge and skills across the company is invaluable not only to schemes Hertford are developing, but for personal development too.
Gillian - Graduate Geotechnical Engineer
Having studied Civil Engineering at university and spent a year in industry placement with Opus in New Zealand, I was really keen to join the company after graduating. The work and life experience I gained during my time in New Zealand was invaluable and I felt like part of the ‘Opus Family’ right away. During this time I worked with both the Structural and Geotechnical teams and helped with the assessment of buildings in Christchurch after the earthquake in February 2011.
I now work as a Graduate Geotechnical Engineer for Opus in Cardiff and feel I get the best of both worlds being able to work both out on site and in the office. In the time I have worked with Opus after graduating, I have had the opportunity of working on a huge variety of projects, learning from extremely experienced engineers.
The culmination of my achievements to date, whilst working at Opus, is having been awarded the Young Geotechnical Engineer Award 2015 at the Ground Engineering Next Generation Awards. The judges were really impressed with the work I do with the ICE Graduate and Students Group, and my STEM Ambassador activities I do within schools. Opus is really supportive of me in this as I want to actively promote engineering as a profession to younger students and share my experiences.
In the next few years I hope to use this knowledge to work towards Chartership with the ICE and use the skills I have learnt to work for Opus in different countries.
Libby - Graduate Geo-Environmental Engineer
What I value at Opus is that everyone is treated as a person and not a number.
Opus feels like a close-knit community and since I started 18 months ago, I’ve been offered a lot of support to get to where I am now.
For me gaining experience in different sectors across the company has been useful and being versatile allows me to provide support across the board. Opus encourages its graduates to think outside the box, ask questions and to consider getting involved in things outside of their comfort zone.
Whilst not coming from an engineering background (BSc in Geography with German) I’m proud of what I’ve achieved at Opus so far. This was possible due to the support and training that I’ve had not only from my local office, but from many across the business and I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some very experienced engineers.
I’ve already had the chance to work on some great schemes, including site investigation on the River Thames for the Environment Agency. Other projects have involved work for electrification of the Midland Mainline, public/stakeholder consultations for Hertfordshire County Council and more recently contracts with Network Rail.
There’s been plenty of training available as well as in-house courses and web-based learning (specifically chosen to target areas of interest). I enjoy the balance of site work and office work and recognise the importance of doing both to become a well-rounded engineer.
Tom - Graduate Bridge Engineer
With a personal interest in innovation, there's plenty of opportunity to get involved in some challenging schemes.
Currently I'm working on a bridge requiring £500K of repairs. It's a fantastic project, using high pressure water jetting and spray concrete to carry out the repairs.
As a Graduate Bridge Engineer, I’m working on Opus’ contract with Hertfordshire County Council, providing Asset Management and Project Management on capital schemes.
At Opus there’s a great sense of family. Managers are receptive to any questions and are really supported. The training I’m receiving is invaluable and I like that I’m able to take real ownership of schemes. I’ve been able to develop strong communication and management skills at a relatively early stage in my career.
It’s reassuring that they’ll be plenty of support as I progress with my goal to become a Chartered Bridge Engineer. In the longer term there’s always the potential to become a leader at Opus. There’s also the chance to get new experiences working with other offices at Opus, both in the UK and overseas – and that’s exciting.
I am particularly proud of my involvement assisting colleagues to develop the Structures Asset Management Tool Kit. I reviewed data quality and procedures as part of a bid to improve the asset management of Hertfordshire’s Bridges and Structures - a fantastic opportunity.
Louisa - Assistant Bridge Engineer
I’m enjoying being part of Opus’ ‘Women in Leadership’ group and the support I’ve had from Opus to get involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities has been really encouraging. Recently, I mentored a group of Year 12 students at a local school, and my contribution makes me feel that in my own way I’m inspiring a future generation of engineers.
As an Assistant Bridge Engineer, I check that highway structures are safe and at capacity. I undertake inspections and design structures if they are below capacity, allowing me to make a real difference and improve lives. I enjoy the liaison I get with different professional bodies and departments.
For me being able to attend a mix of conferences has been helpful and has provided me with an interesting insight into current Bridge innovations. It’s good to be part of a company that builds strong networks with its clients and getting the opportunity to develop relationship with Network Rail and Hertfordshire County Council has been fantastic.
I’m looking forward to becoming a Chartered Engineer now that I’ve completed my MSc in Bridge Engineering.