Civil engineering technician

After spending 14 years working in admininstration, Kenna felt like it was time for a change. 

Now she’s part of a team helping to design, create and maintain roads and bridges for Moray Council

'Starting college at 40 was a bit of a challenge... It was hard but I had support from my family and my work.' 

Why retrain?

She became a technical clerk with Moray Council in the roads department which made her think about where she would like to take her career next. 

At aged 40, she decided to step back into training and become an engineering Modern Apprentice

She says, ‘Starting college at 40 was a bit of a challenge. It was very scary among all the young people. It was hard but I had support from my family and my work.  

‘I had always been attracted to the technician role, even when I was in admin. I loved playing with Lego as a kid so maybe it came from that.’

Building a career

‘I’m quite lucky; if there’s a job like designing a new cycle path and footpath then I work on the whole project from the beginning,’ says Kenna.

‘I go out and do the survey, I work with the client to draw up the design and I then take on the contract and construction management of the project. You get great satisfaction from working on a project from start to finish. 

‘I love contributing to the area and making a difference.’

Skills to succeed

‘You need to have belief in yourself, good problem-solving skills and you need to have patience to get it right,’ says Kenna.

‘I could be working on two or three projects at the same time. My favourite part is surveying and doing the design work for the survey. 

‘You get the details of the area you require and run them through a drawing system. You have to work out all of the calculations. When I did the cycle path it was calculating gradients. 

‘Depending on the construction time I could be working on a project for six to eight months.’

What next?

Kenna already has an SVQ Level 3 in Construction Contracting Operations: Site Technical Support and an HNC in Civil Engineering. She’s also a technical member of the Institute of Civil Engineers and is considering going on to complete an HND. 

‘That could lead to an engineering role,’ she says.