Q&A with Kate Matthews, CAD Technician, Arup

Kate Matthews, CAD Technician, completed her Technician Review with the Institution of Civil Engineers earlier this year, following a two year technician apprenticeship scheme at ARUP.

Kate Matthews receiving her EngTech certificate from ICE president Professor David Balmforth

Kate, 27, is now a qualified engineering technician who develops 3D models using BIM software. Previously she worked on the St. Regis Hotel and Residences in Astana, Kazakhstan creating a structural model of all components to be used in the construction process.

What made you become a civil engineer?

I’ve always had an interest in how things are put together and the construction industry appealed to me. I didn’t get into civil engineering the conventional way as I studied for a degree in product design, but am proud of my career so far.

Some females are put off at the thought of engineering – not you?

I didn’t have the opportunity to find out very much about engineering when I was in school so it was something I didn’t consider when deciding what to do in the future. From working in engineering, I have found that it’s as much as a career choice for women as it is for men. In my company, Arup, there are many highly skilled female engineers. If you are interested in creativity and having an impact on the world as well as having a rewarding career then I would say that civil engineering is the right choice for you.

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Why did you choose a technician apprenticeship route in particular?

I didn’t enjoy the job I was previously working in and wanted a career that would be more interesting and challenging. I liked the prospect of being trained while I worked and being able to study a HNC in civil engineering helped significantly with my understanding of many of the processes used in my job.

What were the benefits of this route?

The main benefits were being able to work and study simultaneously. I felt that my understanding of civil engineering techniques was able to improve both in work and throughout my HNC. 

What would you say to other young women considering an apprentice route?

I would say that it’s a good route to choose. I started with a very basic understanding of engineering and during the last three years I have worked hard to build a variety of new skills, knowledge and experiences.Regarding civil engineering generally, I would recommend this as a career to anyone as the world is continuously growing and changing and engineering is something that will always be in demand. It’s a job where you get to have an impact on the world.

What do you think would attract more women into the profession?

I think that there should be more focus in schools to show that engineering is a profession that’s just as much for women as it is for as men. Having more media attention and case studies about women in construction also helps as it can show that the construction industry doesn’t have to be a male orientated profession.

What does your day to day job involve?

My job involves working with engineers to create 3D models and structural drawings of their designs using 3D design software.

What do you enjoy most about it and why?

I enjoy creating realistic 3D models using BIM software and seeing the design develop over time. I also enjoy seeing the designs I have previously worked on being constructed and feel proud to have been a part of it.

What has been your career highlight?

It would be my work on the St. Regis Hotel and Residences in Astana, Kazakhstan. I worked as lead structural technician during the main design stages of the project. My role involved creating a 3D structural model using BIM software. I worked with the engineers’ designs to create a structural model of all structural components to be used in the construction process. From there, I created a series of drawings including general arrangement, elevation, detail and core drawings.

How does it feel to be able use the letters EngTech TMICE after your name?

I feel proud to use EngTech after my name and to be part of an Institution of many talented engineers that has been around for nearly 200 years.

What are you career goals? What next?

I would like to work my way towards becoming a senior technician in the next few years. I would also like to work towards becoming an Incorporated Engineer member of ICE.





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