Calum Henderson

Senior Engineer

In First Careers’ interviews and online films, you’ll meet lots of different people with lots of different jobs! BT has been finding out how technology is changing jobs and what skills people need to make the most of it.

What I do

I am a senior engineer on the Queensferry Crossing project. I control the engineering aspects of bridge construction around the central tower.

How I got my job

I started in construction after leaving school as a technician engineer. I’ve always been interested in how things are put together.

What I love about my job

I love working out how to safely put together structures like bridges. I really enjoy the challenge when complicated problems have to be worked out (like lifting very heavy parts of a structure), being part of the team and seeing the finished product.

What is difficult about my job

Working out the best use of resources can be a challenge, particularly when weather becomes so bad that it prevents some works from going ahead.

Weather impacts most of what we do and is usually the biggest obstacle we have to overcome.

What skills I need

Approaching problems from a different perspective and great communication. Performing as part of a team is essential, to make sure that workers are safe.

How I use technology in my job

Every day we use technology, from producing working drawings to using global positioning to ensure we build to millimetre accuracy. We use weather forecasting and monitoring technology, structural health systems to check load conditions are as expected, and design software to test how structures will cope.

How that has changed over my career

Global positioning was very expensive and rare, but is now used on a daily basis. Working drawings are now all digital, which is a big improvement.

Where young people should start if they want to do the job, too

Pick subjects that give good background knowledge for civil engineering, such as English, maths and physics. Having a degree in civil engineering is a common route, but engineering can be entered through work placements as a technician while studying HNC level engineering.