Andrew graduated from the MEng Civil Engineering programme in 2006. After university, Andrew worked in Edinburgh and Glasgow within the Rail Infrastructure teams at AECOM and WSP Group before moving to Perth, Australia to work for Calibre on mining railway expansion projects.
Can you tell us about your current job?I am working on a Rio Tinto project as a Senior Project Engineer on a 70km rail duplication project, responsible for the delivery of approximately 15km at a value of AU$50m. My main role is to act as the client's representative by managing the day to day running of the earthworks contract and budget and to ensure construction interface works. Other responsibilities include reviewing project risks and the potential financial outcomes of these risks, managing design change throughout construction and leading the project team, on and off-site, to successfully meet deadlines safely.
The overall student experience is important at Heriot-Watt with the Sports Union and Student Association providing many sporting or other social possibilities for all students.
What was your experience of doing a degree at Heriot-Watt University?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Heriot-Watt University and became involved in both the curricular and extra-curricular activities the University had to offer. The overall student experience is important at Heriot-Watt with the Sports Union and Student Association providing many sporting or other social possibilities for all students. I particularly enjoyed the fact that all necessary amenities were within walking distance at the Riccarton Campus and it was only a short journey to the city centre.
On a personal note, it was through the university sports that I travelled to Canada and Barbados and got the chance to represent Scottish Universities, through the Engineering programme that I travelled to Belize and it was through the Sports Union that I met my wife.
Do you think your Heriot-Watt experience gave you an edge in your chosen field and why?
The degree not only gave me the ability to understand theory but it gave me the tools to solve problems, rather than just knowing the answers. This is the single most important skill that I learned at university as I use this in everything I do. I also got a lot of exposure to working with teams, committees and budgets having been involved with many Sports Union clubs. This experience gave me an understanding of organisational structure, which in hindsight, is similar to what I experienced at work. This certainly gave me an advantage over my colleagues who did not have this experience.
What advice would you give to a student considering embarking on their studies at Heriot-Watt?
It is important that your studies are at the forefront of what you do at Heriot-Watt, but the importance of extra-curricular activities should not be underestimated. Potential employers will look for a balance of academic and non-academic experiences and having said that, Heriot-Watt University has much to offer. To get the maximum from your university experience, it is up to each student to grasp these opportunities with both hands.