Explore: Engineering

Water Engineer
Halcrow - Cardiff

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Nariba G

00:00:03 My name is Nariba G, and I’m a Graduate Water Engineer. I work in water management, in water drainage – flooding, water quality issues. I mainly do assessments before construction when you have design, in the areas of flood risk management and flood defences.

00:00:23 What I enjoy about my job is the variety of work. Projects can be quite small, or they can extend to quite large schemes like worth multi-million dollars – pounds, even!

00:00:38 When I graduated from University I came straight to Halcrow, I was quite fortunate. I’ve always worked in water engineering. I think it’s something I was always interested in, from the time I was at University, so I was quite fortunate to start work straightaway in the area I wanted.

00:00:54 At University I did my degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. I studied for four years at Cardiff University. To be honest the UK was a bit of a last minute choice, it wasn’t actually number one on my list. I applied to – I thought of applying to places in Canada, America, in the Caribbean – where I’m from – and also in the UK. But I was very impressed with the information that I got from the Universities here, and particularly Cardiff University.

00:01:27 When I came, my Dad came with me to help me settle, so that was a really big help. When I came it was the middle of September, and it was lovely warm weather, and I thought – ooh, this is really nice. Shortly after my Dad, left the rain started. It was a really different experience, ‘cause I came on my own, I didn’t have any family nearby, so I really was a bit like a fish out of water. But it was actually a lot less daunting than I thought it was going to be.

00:01:57 I thought it was going to be quite challenging being one of the few females on the course, but I think one of the things I’ve realised is that people respect you for what you know, and they don’t judge you for who you are. So it didn’t matter whether I was a woman, or whether I was from Barbados, you know, I just blended in as a student.

00:02:16 We actually had careers throughout my school, and there was a female Civil Engineer there. And it was just really interesting, ‘cause I’d never considered engineering prior to that. But I think just from what she’d said, and the type of career that she had progressed in, and gone into, that really piqued my interest.

00:02:37 I think my Mum’s definitely been a great inspiration for me. She’s a very strong woman, and she’s had to go through many challenges, and she’s always come through almost like a shining beacon. And, you know, she’s my stability. I think my Dad was quite an inspiration as well, because he also went away to study in a place where he had no-one. I think it runs in our family, it must be the crazy genes. But yeah, he was definitely an inspiration for me to come here.

00:03:06 One of the things I’m quite interested in, is working with a charity in, say, an underdeveloped country. To make a difference really. The other reason is that I’m a Christian, and for me part of being a Christian is being able to help people. It’s like you have a higher calling, you have a higher reason for doing what you’re doing, and you realise that the world doesn’t revolve around you. So I think because of that I just want to, you know, give back.

00:03:37 In terms of short-term goals, I hope to get Chartered in the next few years. Once I’m Chartered, I guess the world’s my oyster. I’m not really sure exactly where I see myself in, say, ten years’ time, because there are so many different avenues to go into, so many different areas to expand into. So I guess I’ll just wait and see.


Nariba G is a Water Engineer for Halcrow. She came from Barbados to study civil and environmental engineering at Cardiff University. She is working in Wales in flood risk management and flood defences while she becomes a chartered engineer, then she would like to work for a charity in a developing country. “I’m a Christian, and for me part of being a Christian is being able to help people. It’s like you have a higher calling, you have a higher reason for doing what you’re doing, and you realise that the world doesn’t revolve around you. So I think because of that I just want to give back.”

More information about Civil engineers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

90%  male 
10%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Civil engineers undertake research and design, direct construction and manage the operation and maintenance of civil and mining engineering structures.
Civil engineers usually possess an accredited three or four-year degree in civil engineering or engineering science or an accredited Higher National Diploma or Certificate. The status of ‘incorporated engineer’ is obtained upon the completion of further training at work and associate membership of a chartered engineering institution. The status of ‘chartered engineer’ is achieved through the completion of postgraduate training and full membership of a chartered engineering institution.
  • Undertakes research and advises on soil mechanics, concrete technology, hydraulics, water and waste water treatment processes and other civil engineering matters;
  • Determines and specifies construction methods, materials, quality and safety standards and ensures that equipment operation and maintenance comply with design specifications;
  • Designs foundations and earthworks;
  • Designs structures such as roads, dams, bridges, railways, hydraulic systems, sewerage systems, industrial and other buildings and plans the layout of tunnels, wells and construction shafts;
  • Organises and plans projects, arranges work schedules, carries out inspection work and plans maintenance control;
  • Organises and establishes control systems to monitor operational efficiency and performance of materials and systems.
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