“I went to Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, and now I am a Transport Consultant.”
Naomi, Transport Consultant
Description of Job:
I work in a civil engineering consultancy firm as a transport modeler. My job is to create transport models of our road network and assess junction designs/schemes operation in future years. I also have input into the road design process and signal operation. The work I’m doing can be for local councils, private developers or other teams within my company.
GCSEs 6 Grade (A*) 3 Grade (A)
AS Levels biology (A) Geography (A) further Maths (A)
University of Bristol
What inspired you at school?
AGGS gave me a strong work ethic and loads of opportunities to explore what I’m interested in.
Any useful tips/advice?
Explore what’s out there and enjoy what you do. I didn’t know my job existed when I was thinking about what to do at school and it definitely wasn’t what I’d planned!
What have you done since leaving AGGS to get to where you are today? (eg work experience, GAP year, apprenticeship, volunteering, travelling)
University, summer research placement at my University, a job as a Geophysicist for 18 months and several self organised hiking and cycling expeditions.
What specific qualifications are needed for your job?
I’m working towards Chartership with the Institute of Highways and Transportation – there are different routes to this depending on your background (apprenticeship, engineering degree, other degree) and you get a lot of support and training within the company.
Are there any particular subjects that have to be studied to be able to do your job?
Science, Engineering, Geography or Maths all go down well.
What is a typical work day like for you?
Normally I’m in the office; some days you’ll have non-stop meetings, calls and answering everyone’s questions, others you’ll be working on your specific task in the development of a model. Each stage of my work involves using specialist software and a lot of spreadsheet work to analyse data and understand what is going on in the road network being modelled. It’s all things I’ve been learning on the job. Every modelling job is different and depending on the size of the model it can take a week or months to develop a transport model. I’m often working on multiple models at once and am managing more junior members of the team as they support me in this. The first stage of developing a model is to accurately understand the existing situation and traffic demands; I’ll do this by analysing data in spreadsheets and visiting the site to understand current issues. I then build my model in the software we use, think SIM city but with some actual statistics behind it. I’ll go onto use the model to assess design options, be that improvements to pedestrian facilities, air quality assessments or developing a whole corridor scheme like the cycle superhighways in London. The final step is analysing results and reporting all this to your client.
What is the best bit about your job and do you have a particular career highlight?
I look forward to the point when my work is actually on street! The modelling work I’m doing can highlight key features in a junction design that won’t work or could be improved, catching those and ensuring the design that eventually goes on street is the best it can be is really rewarding. Site visits are also pretty good fun and add in a bit of variation to days at the office.
What are the worst things about your job?
Site visits in the rain…. When software just decides to give up on the day of a deadline, never helpful!
What skills help you most in your job (i.e. teamwork, communication, leadership, time management)?
Communication is really important, you need to be on the same page as your client – understanding what they want from the modelling work and making sure you have all the information you need and are providing them with the outputs they want is key. I’m often working as part of multi-disciplinary teams (for example an environmental assessment may be running at the same time as the transport modelling work I’m doing and awaiting my outputs) so team work, time management, and communicating are some of your most important skills.
What advice would you give to students looking to get into your line of work? (e.g. subjects to study, getting work experience)
Start looking round the area you live and at what’s going on – are there new cycle facilities, what are the transport issues, how would you change/ improve them. Transport is a huge sector that is changing rapidly at the moment. I didn’t know very much about it when I started but having an interest in cycling and sustainable travel means it’s turned out to be a job I really enjoy –you genuinely get to have an impact on the future and how the places we live develop.
How did your experience at AGGS help you to achieve your successes?
AGGS gave me a great starting point, a strong work ethic and loads of opportunities to explore what I’m interested in.