News & Views

FPS ECG – Bolton University Presentation

Federation of Piling Specialist (FPS) Early Careers Group Chair (ECG) Julia Hill and former ECG Chair and founder David Major were delighted to present recently to the University of Bolton’s Civil Engineering Degree students.

The presentation, which took place 26 April 2022, was designed to showcase what a career in ground engineering with an FPS member could offer them, as well as discussing the many exciting and varied career options available to graduate students within the wider piling industry, with the aim of inspiring a whole new generation of much-needed engineers.

The 40-minute session looked at all aspects of why a graduate should choose a career in ground engineer, including an introduction to the FPS, and its aims, before profiling both Julia Hill and David Major from the perspectives of their own individual career paths. David was keen to note his own affiliation with Bolton University as a former student and graduate of the institution.

The presentation then moved on to explain just what is the ground engineering industry and some of the projects we [the piling industry] are currently constructing, including HS2 and Tideway, as well as the many residential and commercial projects being undertaken.

A typical working day was detailed, together with the site constrains found commonly on projects, such as noise and vibration limits, existing temporary works, working space, underground assets, and utilities. Logistics, types of piling, supply chain, overlapping traders and critical path were also discussed at.

The installation of piled foundations for a new state of the art campus at Manchester City College and the piled foundations for the redevelopment of a shopping and residential building in Bayswater were presented, to highlight some of the key issues encountered on real-world projects.

The presentation continued with what a career in piling may offer and some of the future developments of the sector that will widen opportunities further, as well as the numerous career pathways through the industry.

Some more general ’tips’ were offered about how a graduate could best set themselves up for a career in the geotechnical sector. Ground Forum’s Graduate Mentoring Programme was introduced and where students could find more information, including then FPS!

The Q&A session was lively, with students asking a variety of questions including:

  • Potential salary when entering the industry
  • Work experience opportunities
  • Advice from the speakers
  • Difference between consultant and contractors

After the formal session ended more wider discussions were had with students focussed on career paths and if work experienced would heavily influence career prospects.

There was no shortage of enthusiasm and interest from the room, which is good news for the future of the piling sector!

The ECG would also encourage other universities/colleges to contact the FPS about the opportunity to receive a similar presentation to its students or if they would like a member of the FPS to deliver a guest lecture on a particular subject matter.

In the first instance, contact: ECG Chair, Julia Hill, via email: julia.hill@roger-bullivant.co.uk