James Vincent

James Vincent

Section Engineer, Skanska UK 

Country United Kingdom

Specialisms Construction, project management, structural

Career highlights

How I became a civil engineer

My day currently starts with morning briefings between me, the engineering team and the construction team, which gives us an opportunity to review the work ahead that day.

I’m responsible for managing a team of site engineers who manage the construction teams more closely on site.

This means part of my job role is to mentor and ensure each of my engineers is aware of their roles and responsibilities and continue to develop their own skills. I provide support to these engineers throughout the day, helping with their judgement and decision making.

I’m also responsible for the project management, contractual management, programming, planning and delivery of the construction process.

This includes organising and chairing meetings with other construction teams, subcontractors and key stakeholders such as the council, client and residents. This can also include procurement of materials, organisation of labour, management of risks.

My career inspiration 

I first heard about civil engineering when I was at my school careers fair and I realised it was the subjects I was interested in and found the concept brilliant.

Further inspiration came from my love of nature documentaries and the idea of sustainability, which, as a civil engineer, you can have a large impact on.

I also gained inspiration from television shows like How Stuff’s Made, How Things Work, Brainiac, and Richard Hammond’s Engineering Connections and Megastructures. .

M1 J19 Improvement Scheme

M1 J19 Improvement Scheme

“​‌

I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also ... a project manager.

James Vincent

Section Engineer, Skanska UK 

What I love about being a civil engineer (that I didn’t know before I became one)

The amazing feeling you get after one or more years work on a large project to see the impact you’ve had. I think most notably on my first major project, after two years, I was amazed by the feeling I had by being able to drive through a motorway junction which I’d helped to build. .

The civil engineering myth I’d like to bust

Civil engineering is a male industry. Although I never thought this was the case myself, there are definitely some preconceptions that civil engineering is a male industry.

I’d like to say that the company I work for (Skanska UK) and the industry in general, is one of the most professional, innovative and ground-breaking industries in setting the way for ethics, bribery, fairness and inclusion.

Fundamentally, the problems we solve as engineers are complex, and that requires a diverse range of skills and backgrounds to solve in new and innovative ways. That’s why I want to encourage everyone to consider civil engineering as a career.

I’d recommend a career in civil engineering because

It's extremely rewarding to see the change and difference that you can make to people’s lives.

The major infrastructure projects that civil engineers work on shape the future of transport networks, connect people and make our lives simpler.

Think about how much of your life’s made better because of civil engineering and the built environment. Think about energy generation and power to your home, clean water supplies at the flick of a tap, flushing toilets for hygienic living, homes, offices, hospitals, schools, train stations, roads, airports and many more.

There are a multitude of sectors to become involved in within civil engineering and each of them play a key role in the world we live today. Civil engineers play a vital role in identifying the needs of society and developing affordable solutions that meet society’s aspirations. In fulfilling this role, civil engineers contribute to economic growth, environmental protection and improved quality of life.

The project, past or present, I wish I'd worked on

Clifton Suspension Bridge, Channel Tunnel, Burj Khalifa, and Thames Tunnel.

What gets me out of bed every morning?

The thrill of working as part of a team, and that people depend on me being there for the construction project to run smoothly.

Although I don’t believe it’s 100% necessary, for construction and project management it helps to have good teamwork, management and leadership skills. Working in sports teams, or as part of clubs, helps to develop those skills.

My major projects

2019 to Present - HS2 Enabling Works, Granby Terrace Bridge Extension

2018-19 – Structural Design of Werrington Grade Separation

2017-18 – Waterloo Capacity Upgrade Programme, Suburban 10-Car Platform Extension

2015-17 – M1 Junction 19 Improvement Scheme

2013 – Mile End and Eleanor Street Shaft Construction, Crossrail

2012 – Temporary Works Designs for Borough Viaduct and Paddington Station, Crossrail

2011 – M25 J16-25 Road Widening Scheme

Education

A Levels – Maths, Physics, Design and Technology (Product Design)
University degree – Master’s in Civil Engineering

The most complex thing I’ve made out of Lego

I once built a bulldozer, approximately 15cm square and it took me about an hour! Who doesn’t love a bit of Lego!

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.

At school

Up to 16 years

School / college

16-19 years

College / university

18 years +

Change career

Any age