Matthew – Project engineer

The Thames Tideway Tunnel is a major new sewer that will help protect the River Thames from increasing pollution.

Project engineer Matthew chats through some of his work on this project so that you can see if this is an area you might want to consider working in the future.

What is your role on the project?

I am a Project Engineer in the technical team. I look at the whole sewer system to see how the Thames Tideway Tunnel will affect it now and in the future and ensure the project meets the requirements set by the Government.

Can you describe how you became an engineer?

I was studying for a masters degree in Geography at St Andrews University that included a module about flood risk. Seeing the massive impact that flooding can have on people’s lives was a real eye opener. Just as impressive were the engineered protective measures so I contacted Halcrow to see if I could get a summer placement working on flood defence design. After this placement I was offered a permanent position.

Why did you become a STEM Ambassador?

The main reason is to pass on some of my enthusiasm for engineering and science subjects to young people so that more of them will choose to do STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) academic subjects. There is a massive talent pool in the UK and if young people can see there is an opportunity to work on exciting and interesting projects all around the world by working hard at school, then more might be enthused to study hard in these subjects.

What is the best thing about being a STEM Ambassador?

It is seeing the enthusiasm that most of the kids have for the STEM subjects and how focused some of them are on their future. Youngsters are the future and seeing them being genuinely interested in the subject you have chosen as a career is inspiring.

Describe how events you’ve participated in have helped pupils and teaching staff:

I recently attended an event called “Making Engineering Hot” for the Association of Black Engineers and the focus was encouraging minority groups to try engineering. We had a series of ‘speed networking’ sessions where pupils between the ages of 14 and 17 had a couple of minutes to talk to each of the STEM ambassadors about why engineering is a career worth pursuing.

What is the best thing about working on the Thames Tideway Tunnel project?

It is working with a highly-skilled group of people who always come together to help one another and push the internationally renowned project forward as a unified group with a common goal.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Work hard at school and choose STEM subjects that will provide you with a lot more opportunities in the future. Placements or work experience are also a great way of introducing yourself to an employer and will often lead onto more permanent employment. Also do something that you enjoy as you will be spending a lot of your life in work.


This career profile is part of the new set of Tunnelworks educational resources that aims to bring the curriculum to life through study of the Thames Tideway Tunnel.