HS2 Area Engineer

What is HS2?

HS2 is the planned high speed railway connecting Birmingham with London and on to Manchester and Leeds. It will be the biggest project of its kind in the UK. The trains will move more people around the country, and faster. Each train will travel at speeds of up to 225mph, and carry up to 1,100 passengers. When the whole route has been built, HS2 will carry more than one million people every week!

Careers at HS2 will range from engineers, construction workers and railway technicians to designers, environmentalists and business staff. It’s estimated HS2 will create around 100,000 jobs, including the people needed to drive and operate the trains and local jobs sparked by the development around HS2.

What is an HS2 Area Engineer?

An HS2 Area Engineer works as part of a team to design and build the railway. The job is varied. Mainly it involves making decisions about the technical designs of the structures that will be part of the railway. Engineers also meet local communities to explain the design of the project to answer questions and address concerns.

What does an HS2 Area Engineer do?

On a typical day, an HS2 Area Engineer would do some of the following:

Review and co-ordinate technical designs – this could be for a bridge, a tunnel or a railway station, for example. Meet local communities, residents, landowners and businesses to listen to their views and understand potential issues affecting them, and explain to them the design of the project. Meet legal experts to help prepare information for government ministers. The government needs a huge amount of information to be able to make good decisions about the project. To learn more about what an Area Engineer does on a day-to-day basis, hear from Joanne Chau, one of HS2’s Senior Area Engineers.

Is an HS2 Area Engineer career right for me?

Do you want to be involved in a big project, helping to build structures and systems that can change the way we live our lives?

If the answer is yes, that’s a good start! But more than this, you need to be:

A strong communicator. Can you convey complex stuff in simple terms? A technical guru. You’ll need to be able to make judgments about technical designs, and for that you’ll need a strong background and experience in engineering. A great planner. Are you always the one organising people and thinking ahead? This sort of work might suit you.

How to become an HS2 Area Engineer

There are lots of different ways to get into civil or mechanical engineering, so it is just a case of picking a specialism and working your way up in the role. Most people go to university to get a master’s degree in civil or mechanical engineering. After getting your degree, you’ll look for a graduate engineering job that will help you work towards chartered status. Chartership is an industry-recognised professional qualification and the final ‘stamp of approval’ that you are a competent engineer. If a master’s degree isn’t for you, there are also some apprenticeship opportunities in civil and mechanical engineering, which will give you the chance to complete your qualifications through a work-based route.

If you’re still at school, a good place to start is by working hard at maths, science and technology subjects and getting good enough grades to get you on to either:

  • An undergraduate degree in an engineering subject, or
  • A Higher National Certificate in engineering (either full-time at university or through an apprenticeship)

Once you’ve graduated, gaining some hands-on experience would be a bonus and you’ll need further training in health and safety.

Visit the following websites to find out more about engineering careers:

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