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WSP director Julia Gilles explains resilient future-ready communities

WSP director Julia Gilles explains resilient future-ready communities

 November 08, 2021

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Turning the tide in the fight against growing risk of flooding can be a very rewarding and impactful area to work.

WSP is a 300-strong team of expert and experienced water specialists across the UK, planning and designing for its clients’ needs.

During COP26 in Glasgow, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, WSP changemakers Julia Gilles and Blair Mitchell penned their thoughts on how WSP supports communities to become resilient to the challenges brought about by climate change.

Julia is a WSP director with a specific focus on growing the public sector transportation business in Scotland, while Blair leads a combined team of water specialisms across the UK business.

Helping communities become future-ready

In an article for Canongate Communications, Julia and Blair explain how WSP helps clients and communities become future-ready and resilient in these challenging times. For example, across the UK, WSP works with external partners to develop and deliver flood prevention schemes to safeguard communities – all with an innovative approach.

People-focused initiatives with net-zero ambitions

"At WSP, our people-focus and passion for inclusive design means our designers and engineers do everything they can to find ways to make repairs viable. But we know it’s equally important to find ways to cut the carbon emissions from construction and maintenance of transport infrastructure. We’ve made a commitment to reach net zero in our own operations by 2025 and to halve the carbon footprint of our designs and advice by 2030. As part of this, we use our future-ready checklist whenever we’re given a problem to solve, and we’ve developed carbon calculators to measure the embodied carbon of our designs and to challenge ourselves to reduce it," highlight Julia and Blair.

"We’re in the business of solving problems, but it’s not something the industry can – or should – do in isolation from the communities we serve. We need to ensure that projects not only protect communities but that they provide as much social value as possible. Can a road scheme leverage cycling and walking grants to provide safer routes for the local community at the same time? Could accessing an electric bus grant be a good option for people’s needs? We can only answer questions like these through engaging with the local community." 

“Ultimately, for all the technical challenges, our work responding to the climate crisis is all about people helping other people,” say Julia and Blair.

Read the full article from WSP's Julia Gilles and Blair Mitchell.

Impact people and the planet via a WSP career

WSP is a great company to work for. They recognise that it's about the skills that someone can bring to the role, not about the gender of that person," says Julia.

“Being a mum and having a career in this industry can be challenging, so having an employer who recognises that is important. My advice to any woman looking to have a successful career in engineering is to establish a strong network, find a mentor who will support you and champion you within your firm and believe in yourself.”

Enjoy your own career success by searching jobs at WSP.


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