Lucy Nightingale is an engineer for Kier Highways. Here, she talks about her journey into the industry, her current role and why working at Kier has opened up doors for her.
“I joined the construction industry at 16 as a technician. At the time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I fell in love with engineering and construction. Before considering engineering as a career, I thought you needed to excel in maths which had put me off; however, I have since found that this is a small area of the job and to be a good engineer, you also need to have good common sense, excellent communication skills, creativity and a keen desire to keep learning.
I went to Nottingham Trent University and studied civil engineering part time. My degree gave me the practical skills I needed to do my job and it reaffirmed the love I had for engineering. Kier supported me through my final year at university and I knew I wanted to start my career here; it is inclusive, exciting and has an excellent learning and development programme which has encouraged me to progress in my career.
Since finishing university, I have worked on the strategic highways Area 7 design contract. My role is to design improvements to the highways, mainly for safety but sometimes to improve the road for sustainable travel, such as for cyclists or pedestrians. I am working on 15 safety improvement schemes split between the A5 and A52 in Area 7 on behalf of Highways England. These projects are minor as individual schemes but are more complex in terms of planning & delivery due; to the resources required, getting on the network & road space, managing the different risks each scheme poses, and also due to the quantity and keeping track of progress and changes.
My proudest moment at Kier was being nominated for Graduate of the Year last year, where I was placed in the final 5 out of 40+ graduates. I had to go through a panel interview for an hour with some of the Kier senior leadership team followed by a 15-minute presentation. It was nerve wracking but gave me the confidence boost needed to go onto complete my Professional Review this year for Incorporated Engineer with the Engineering Council through the CIHT – I have recently found out that my reviewers nominated me and I was awarded Outstanding Performance at Professional Review.
Kier has opened up a number of doors for me and I am currently on a secondment with Highways England which has allowed me a greater insight into the expectations of Kier from the client and how we can continue to improve on the service we offer. I’m driven by problem solving and delivery, and so, in the future, I am aiming for a leadership role. This will allow me to deliver more complex projects and utilise a wider range of skills and experience within the team.”