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Apply for a rewarding AECOM career in ground engineering

Apply for a rewarding AECOM career in ground engineering

 November 26, 2021

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AECOM is recruiting heavily in Ground Engineering right now and there are so many brilliant career opportunities available.

AECOM and Where Women Work are shining a light on some of the people already working in the arena to provide some great insight into what they do, the positive impact they have, and why they enjoy their work so much. Enjoy this series meeting some impressive AECOM people thriving in their jobs in ground engineering.

In this article James Todd, Growth and Development Director at AECOM, talks about the exciting world of ground engineering. James also discusses the current key issues in ground engineering, shares his top tips for those looking to join the Ground Engineering team at AECOM, and explains what Freedom to Grow means to him.

Be sure to read further articles in this Ground Engineering series featuring Lynn Masterson, Riya Patel and Sophie Hoggard

How would you describe yourself professionally in 3 key words?

Excited, passionate and challenging.

How did you find yourself working in ground engineering?

I have always enjoyed being outdoors, working with others, traveling and practical science – and a career as a ground engineering specialist gives me all of this. Also, ground engineering is not an exact science, there is lots of room for experience and professional judgement, giving room for thinking laterally and exploring multiple routes to a single solution.

Ground Engineering AECOM

How would you describe your job to someone outside the industry?

My current role requires me to be a professional plate spinner! I am responsible for working closely with our clients to understand what their future needs might be, aligned with the challenges and opportunities they may face as the world changes. I then work with the amazing team of specialists in AECOM to develop our solution to address the client’s need and help them articulate the benefits we can bring. Typically, I stay with the project until it progresses into delivery, helping steer direction and to provide continuity for our clients. At any one time I can be involved in multiple projects, plus work winning and skills development and growth – hence the plate spinning analogy.

What are some key strengths you regularly call upon in your role?

Having confidence and conviction in your decisions is key in my role as we typically need to move quickly. Also understanding my weaknesses and when I need to seek help from others is vital to being able to provide value to our clients. Empowering others to lead and deliver is very important, there is too much going on for any one person to deliver, so we must come together and share the responsibility and be empowered and trusted to deliver.

What is your favourite project you have worked on for AECOM?

We recently completed an interesting piece of work for a rail client looking at how climate change has been impacting the railway and how to ensure more resilience against adverse and extreme weather events. Not only was this a fascinating topic, it also required us to develop a bespoke approach, bringing together specialists from across the business to do something that we hadn’t done before. The work was ultimately successful; the client was happy, and we all learned a lot.

What are the current key issues in ground engineering?

Geoscience has never been more important – we will be at the forefront of solving many of society’s most important future challenges including energy transition and in mitigating climate change. To achieve this we need more, diverse talent. However, the application numbers for geoscience degrees are dropping year on year with many courses ceasing to operate. Within the industry there are lots of conversations ongoing to understand how best to address this and I don’t have the answer, but I am sure it will include improving STEM engagement, offering alternative career routes including apprenticeships, and re-engaging and motivating young people through a sense of purpose, associated with helping solve some of society’s most pressing and fundamental challenges.

What actions help ground engineering be inclusive and diverse?

Improving the visibility of some of the amazing talent we have in the industry would help – we need to provide role models to inspire our future ground engineers. As an industry we need to get people excited about the profession by giving a clear statement of intent, focusing on how we will solve the challenges we now face, and how important this career path is. We also need to bring in more diverse minds by supporting apprenticeships and alternative career paths. Finally, all companies in the industry need to promote diversity on projects and in activities. Ultimately diversity is about adding more value, so it is in all our interests to push this in everything we do.

What's your views on getting more women in STEM careers?

We need a more diverse workforce. One of the key ways I am trying to support this is by raising the profile of some of the talent we have at AECOM, to provide better visibility externally and to give people considering a career in ground engineering a role model to look up to. In project delivery we need to ensure we offer our clients a diverse team who bring better decisions and outcomes – this is something I am very passionate about and have been pleased by the progress we have made in the last year, but there is still more to do.

What does Freedom to Grow mean to you?

Freedom to Grow is very important to me as it means I can work around my family commitments and to a rhythm that suits my personal life and my clients. Ultimately, it was one of the main reasons I decided to join AECOM and has been extremely important throughout the recent pandemic and as we start to emerge into normal working conditions.

AECOM engineering

What's your advice for joining the Ground Engineering team at AECOM?

There is no shortage of exciting work in ground engineering, from road and rail to new energies and renewables. We need people who want to make a difference to the world and bring excitement, passion and pride in what they do. The brilliant thing about AECOM is how diverse your career can be, you might join as a Graduate Engineer focused on design work, but in a few years, you could be a Sustainability Consultant focused on future fuels…anything is possible if you have the drive and passion. So, I would suggest people get involved, keep an open mind, be inquisitive and make the most of the opportunities that come their way.

When you're not working, what are your favourite ways to spend time?

With my wife and kids, playing on the beach or in the woods. I am lucky to live on the coast, so our two young girls have no shortage of space to run around and to explore. I also love to cook, for family and friends – ideally on a BBQ with a beer in my hand.

AECOM STEM careers

Become part of this amazing team today

If you want to work for a company that believes in each person’s potential and work on some of the most cutting-edge, technically demanding and innovative projects and programs of our time, then apply for a job in Ground Engineering at AECOM.


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