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Thrive in a WSP engineering job like civil engineer Sylvia Hicks

Thrive in a WSP engineering job like civil engineer Sylvia Hicks

 July 18, 2022

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Is an engineering career pathway for you?

Are you interested in working with water, one of the world's most precious resources?

There are many talented women engineers working for WSP - and here we meet civil engineer Sylvia Hicks who discusses her passion for water conservation and the environment, reflects on her international career move, and explains the importance of her work at WSP.   

Working on a wide variety of environmental projects

WSP water careers
Image: Treated water main installation

Imagine just how vibrant a career can be when you're working on something you're truly passionate about and you're making a positive difference not only to local communities, but to the world.

Engineering can be one of the most rewarding career pathways possible.

Sylvia Hicks is proud to work for WSP and is one of the many women engineers making a considerable impact on the world through her important work and the positive legacy she will leave.

Drawn to water and the environment

"In my role as Civil Engineer within the Water and Wastewater Asset Design team, as part of the One Water team at WSP, I work on a wide variety of projects for clients across the UK and abroad with the aim of improving our drinking water and the environment," explains Sylvia Hicks.

"I’ve always been drawn to water and the environment and have worked on a wide range of different water-related projects including dams and reservoirs, coastal defences, sustainable drainage systems, and water and wastewater treatment."

One of the things that Sylvia enjoys most about engineering is the diversity of projects, places, and people she encounters. She often works within multi-disciplinary teams which means she gains insight into different engineering disciplines, from the design of water treatment processes through to the automation and control of a plant.

As an Engineer, Sylvia gets to explore how to apply new technology to improve efficiency and develop new ways of working. "Exploring a design you’ve been working on in a virtual reality environment is not only a good tool, it’s also great fun!" attests Sylvia.

Engineers have transferable skills for moving around the world

WSP water jobs
Image: Sylvia Hicks hiking on Mount Frosty in BC, Canada

Sylvia recently took up an opportunity to move to Vancouver, where she joined WSP in Canada’s Water and Wastewater team. One of the huge benefits about working in Engineering is transferable skills provide the ability to move around the world.

As a global company, WSP can help to realise those ambitions. Joining WSP meant Sylvia was able to continue to further her career, whilst also exploring Canada and enjoying the Canadian lifestyle.

"In Canada, I was part of the team delivering a brand-new water treatment plant designed to alleviate boil water notices and provide water-borne virus removal for a community of 50,000 people. Whilst working on the project, I gained first-hand experience of living under a boil water notice, and the complications and difficulties this creates for people and businesses in the community," explains Sylvia. "In the UK, we are used to the tap providing clean safe drinking water every day – but unfortunately that is not the reality around the world. It was a huge day of celebration when, finally, the new water supply flowed into the community and there was a sense of achievement as everyone involved in the project felt hugely rewarded."

WSP water recruitment
Image: Sylvia Hicks and colleagues hiking at Elfin Lakes in BC, Canada

Being part of WSP's global family

Following completion of this project, Sylvia was transferred within WSP and moved back to the UK as part of the One Water team.

"My personal experience is, once you are part of the WSP family, everyone will go out of their way to help you stay in the company – even if you’re moving halfway across the world. To be able to move back home to the UK knowing I had a secure job took away a lot of the stress of moving country. It was fantastic to get back to the UK, ready to share my experience with my UK colleagues and also to apply the new knowledge I had gained in Canada and build upon the new North America connections I had made within WSP," comments Sylvia.

Career related personal passions

Outside of work, Sylvia's latest personal project has been hooking up an irrigation system for her vegetable garden. Additionally, she is also often found enjoying the beaches of the Westcountry or unleashing her creativity by throwing, what she claims are, 'pretty wonky' pots!

Work for WSP

Be inspired by the wide range of environment-related project work on offer at WSP.

Take a look at some of the very exciting water-related job vacancies that WSP is currently recruiting for. 

The women at WSP thrive on challenge, and unconventional thinking. Channeling their curiosity into creating progressive solutions to complex issues is both WSP's mission and its passion.

Join WSP in doing purposeful, sustainable work that helps shape communities and the future.



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