Edward Chaplin

Edward Chaplin

Student at the National College for Nuclear (NCfN).

Country United Kingdom

Specialisms Digital, other specialisms

Career highlights

How I became a civil engineer

"I went from my GCSE’s to A-Levels, where the plan was to study Chemistry at university. Instead I took a gap year, I did some light travelling and took some time out for myself.

I was itching to get some experience and start my career, rather than go back into full-time education. So I started looking for apprenticeships that would lead to an interesting career and recognised the possibilities within civil engineering. "

A typical day in your life

My usual day would start with a coffee in hand, on the bus travelling across the largest construction site in Europe!

I work in Digital Engineering, most of the day I am at my desk using 3D modelling software and programming to create innovative solutions to problems. I will be expected to output detailed technical models and tools with equally detailed method statements, that can be used to automate tasks in digital engineering.

I often can be found in meetings with site engineers or colleagues, discussing the problems in detail and gathering the information I need. Or alternatively I could be explaining the output I have and handing it over to them.


Once you start to think about what civil engineering includes, you realise how almost everyone is reliant on the work we do.

Edward Chaplin

Digital Engineer Apprentice

I would recommend a career in civil engineering because

Civil engineering is an exciting area of work. If you want to travel whilst earning and furthering your career prospects, there are major engineering projects all over the world that enable you to do this. The projects are always different, and as each project progresses there will be new exciting challenges. I look forward to the many places that civil engineering will take me.

What’s the biggest /most complicated thing you’ve made out of Lego? How long did it take you?

I never had much Lego as a kid. However I have got a classic Mini that I am restoring, I guess its like a bigger, messier Lego project!

It has been in restoration for over 4 years now. I don’t know when it will be finished, Its always one step forward and two steps back but I still love doing it.

Which individual project or person inspired you to become a civil engineer?

I can’t say for sure that one particular thing inspired me to go into civil engineering. I was looking for a career where I would be challenged and have a good balance of practical and theoretical work.

Civil engineering jumped out as the best fit, and as I can see Hinckley Point C from where I live, everything else fell into place after I decided it was what I was going to do.

My favourite projects

I am still working on Hinkley Point C where I started my apprenticeship.

Complete this phrase: I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also...

An amateur mechanic, a traveller, a photographer, a climber, a problem solver.

What about being a civil engineer gets you out of bed each morning?

The variety and the people! Every day brings a new challenge and my team is full of great people who I enjoy working with!

What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?

I had never thought about how reliant humans are on civil engineering, where there are humans, there are people building civil structures such as bridges, dams, roads and so on. Once you start to think about what civil engineering includes, you realise how almost everyone is reliant on civil engineering.

Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?

I used to love ancient history at school, and I think even more interesting is the great civil engineering projects they completed without any of the advanced technology we have today. For example, the Colosseum in Rome, or the great pyramids.

I am also interested in where civil engineering will take us in the future. What if humans look towards colonising other planets? Civil engineers will then be tested on their inventiveness creating structures that can be transported compact and lightweight and then erected on another planet.

Civil engineers will also be expected to build structures to protect civilisation from global warming, rising sea levels and changing weather, as well as providing reliable energy sources.

Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust?

That civil engineering is a polluting industry. Civil engineering is more than ever focused on sustainability and having a low carbon footprint.

Anything else? i.e. personal causes, hobbies?

I like to go climbing with my girlfriend. I have a black belt in karate and a blue belt in Judo. I like to go travelling, and I would describe myself as an amateur photographer.

I want to become a civil engineer.

See how your studies lead to a civil engineering career

The job you end up with in civil engineering is likely to link back to what you studied at school, college or university. Here you can see your options at any age.

Studying at school

Up to 16 years

School / college

15-18 years

College / university

18 years +

Change career

Any age