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WSP UK’s Sian Walker discusses her engineering journey

WSP UK’s Sian Walker discusses her engineering journey

 January 26, 2022

Where Women Work caught up with WSP UK Assistant Engineer Sian Walker to hear about her enthusiasm for engineering, her exciting career journey to date, and to learn about her future plans.

Having always been inspired by maths, design and technology Sian is forging a successful career with WSP UK and enjoying her professional development journey. 

Inspired by engineering from an early age

As a child, Sian enjoyed playing with Lego and was particularly enthusiastic about maths and design & technology (D&T) at school. 

Initially knowing little about engineering, Sian was inspired by her D&T teacher and knew that she wanted to find out more.

“I was lucky enough to secure a one-week work-placement with a local Civil Engineering consultancy whilst at School and was given the opportunity to dip my toes into different specialisms. After that, I applied to do a Master’s in Civil Engineering at Queen's University in Belfast,” explains Sian. 

Sian undertook an Industrial Placement in 2015 while studying at Queen’s University Belfast, then joined WSP UK as a Graduate Engineer in 2018 before becoming an Assistant Engineer.

A member of the Asset Management Clean Water team based in Belfast, Sian helps to deliver network infrastructure improvement projects for Northern Ireland Water.

A strong interest in water engineering and hydraulics

Before starting the course Sian already knew her two areas of interest were Water Engineering and Hydraulics, with a keen interest in Geotechnics. Whilst at university, Sian spent a one-month summer placement in the Water Team, before applying for a Year in Industry with the Clean Water team at Mouchel (now WSP UK) in Belfast.

This placement amplified Sian’s interest in Water Engineering, giving her the opportunity to contribute to a range of water focussed projects. 

“Whilst on my Industrial placement I began working on the Trunk Mains Modelling Project for Northern Ireland (NI Water), where WSP UK modelled Northern Ireland Water’s strategic mains infrastructure to investigate the mains performance and network anomalies,” reflects Sian. 

“I was involved with pressure logging, data gathering, and data analytics. Building upon my experience as a Graduate Engineer, I utilised these models to assess the feasibility (and sustainability) of new property developments. My understanding of water helps me to appreciate the need to manage this finite resource effectively. My involvement with the Institute of Water enabled me to promote WSP’s work externally by organising a Webinar on The Value of Water.” 

Mutually beneficial knowledge sharing 

Following promotion, Sian was given responsibilities including training and development of new engineers within WSP UK.

“As a Line Manager I can pass on my knowledge to graduate engineers. This has been mutually beneficial for both myself and my direct report as we learn from each other. She comes to me with questions and new ideas, and her hunger to learn more has sparked my interest all over again,” explains Sian. 

Professional opportunities at WSP UK

The next step for Sian is to work towards Chartered Engineer status with the Institute of Water. Through development and professional opportunities available to Sian at WSP UK, Sian feels confident about her path to chartership. 

Sian is very committed to being the best she can at what she does, not only for herself, but for WSP.

WSP has already opened doors for me that I didn’t even know about, and so I am excited about my future with the company, taking on new, challenging projects, continuing to learn from the people I work with, and helping to develop the Water Engineers of the future,” concludes Sian. 

Evolve your water career at WSP UK

Does Sian’s enthusiasm in her engineering role at WSP UK inspire you? 

Keep an eye on the latest career opportunities for water related jobs with WSP UK. 


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