When I started in the 1980s, the construction industry was booming. But on returning to work after having my first child in 1990, we were in the thick of the 90s financial crisis, which I believe is the worst recession that the construction industry has ever experienced. While many projects were stopped and people lost their jobs, one major project that kept going was London Underground’s Jubilee Line Extension. The civil engineers on the project required support with the building structures engineering, and I was very lucky to be seconded to them and gain experience on a heavy infrastructure-type project. I developed my knowledge of issues such as settlement assessments and the impact of tunneling and excavations on buildings along the proposed route. This experience has been very helpful at WSP, where so many of our projects are close to sensitive third-party assets.
After a few years, and a second child, I spent four years working part time. I really enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with my children while continuing to develop as a structural engineer. It made me appreciate the benefits of a good work-life balance contributing to both personal and professional fulfilment
In 1998 I joined WSP, which at the time focused mainly on private sector projects, thus enabling me to fill further gaps in my experience.