#Journeys

With #journeys, we’re sharing stories about how CIHT helps highways and transport professionals go further and faster in their careers.

The value of CIHT membership
A CIHT membership will help your career to advance. As well as strengthening and widening your professional network, we’ll help with your career development. Reach out to new contacts and join CIHT.

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Sharing stories

From college to on-the-job training

  • Niamh Mallaghan

    Niamh Mallaghan

    How work experience secured my dream apprenticeship

    Whilst at college, I joined the Connect Plus Services’ (CPS) 'Get into Highways' training programme in 2014 and, on completion, was offered a two-year highway maintenance apprenticeship with CPS. I am now based at Blunts Farm depot in Essex.

    The apprenticeship is a great way to train on the job and earn a wage at the same time. I believe that I am able to bring a new energy and enthusiasm to the team and in return I am surrounded by supportive colleagues who help me to develop and learn new skills.

    For me, being a woman in a predominately male environment has not been a negative experience at all and I hope to see more and more women entering this exciting industry which offers a wealth of opportunities. Women are as capable in this industry as the next person and I intend to succeed.

    With CPS I am able to realise my ambitions, ambitions which have been inspired by my father. This apprenticeship is a step into an industry that would otherwise have been difficult to break into and I can see a career progression within highways, one which I am keen to pursue.

    Being a member of CIHT gives me access to a variety of networking and CPD events and in the future I hope to gain professional qualifications such as Engineering Technician through the Institution. The fact that membership is free whilst I am training as an apprentice is even better!
     

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From internship to IEng

  • Sachin Kirtane

    Sachin Kirtane

    How an internship inspired me to pursue a career in transportation around the world

    I have had the privilege of working on projects in countries such as UK, USA, India, Qatar and Oman during my career. 
    While studying for my Bachelor’s degree in Civil engineering, I got an opportunity to do an internship at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. This project exposed me to the field of transport planning where we were required to do a feasibility study for a public transportation system within the campus. This got me interested in the field of Transportation Engineering. 
    To specialise in this field, I decided to pursue my Masters in Transportation engineering from UT Arlington, USA. My passion for the field grew every day. Whilst working on a World Bank Funded project in a remote north eastern state in India, I realised how a Highway can impact the living of masses and the significance of my profession for a country’s development. 
    I became a CIHT member in 2013 whilst working on the infrastructure projects in Qatar. I attained the Incorporated Engineer status in July 2015.  The membership, CPD events as well as the professional review experience have given me access to the community of highways and transportation engineers worldwide. My IEng qualification has recently helped me to gain a job in Oman. I believe it will also help me to collaborate better with my peers working in our industry.
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From work experience to experienced professional

  • Emily White

    Emily White

    How membership led to promotion.

    I studied Geography at university and had no real plans to work in transport, but my work experience with Peter Brett Associates LLP in their sustainable transport team changed that. I saw the possibilities of a career in this sector and went after them. I also realised that qualifications can make a big difference to the progress you make. So during my first job I studied part time for a Masters in Transport Planning & Engineering.

    I am now with Jacobs and have been for five years. My CIHT membership is proving very valuable. I was closely involved with former Thames & Chilterns Branch of the Institution, becoming chair of the Technical Events team – and through it I’ve met so many interesting and important industry people. Now, in the new CIHT South East Region, I have been elected as the Web/Communications Officer, a role which I am already enjoying.

    My major promotion to Senior Transport Planner was due, in part at least, to my involvement with CIHT. And my role with the Thames & Chilterns Branch led to winning the Emerging Transportation Professional Award for 2014.

    In June 2015 I reached another landmark in my career development when I gained the Transport Planning Professional qualification through CIHT. This qualification is the equivalent of a Chartered Engineer for transport planners and I am very proud to have achieved this status early in my career. I found that the professional network I have built-up through CIHT helped to support me with the challenge of gaining the qualification.
     
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From experience to new qualifications

  • Derek Edgington

    Derek Edgington

    How a change in career prompted a renewed focus on qualifications later than expected in my career

    Although I have only recently undertaken a professional qualification with CIHT, my career journey started in the early 1980's.

    I began working for my current employer, Swindon Borough Council, in 1988 and I completed my HNC in Civil Engineering in 1992. I have worked for the majority of time in Drainage and Highways teams but recently I changed career direction when I became the Landfill Site Manager for the Borough.

    In the early 1990's I decided not to pursue further qualifications whilst I had young children. However, I did not envisage my children would have left home before I eventually got around to going for my Engineering Technician (EngTech) qualification last year!  

    I did think that the opportunity to achieve EngTech had probably passed me by having moved away from highways and now aged 50. But my recent career change meant that I needed to achieve a Level 4 NVQ for my new role and this prompted a renewed focus on learning. Once I was back in the 'learning mode' I felt that the next step was EngTech, which my Line Manager encouraged me to go for.
     
    My Professional Review took place in London and – apart from not being able to find my way out of Oxford Circus underground station – my experience was a really positive one. I was made to feel comfortable at all times and the interview itself was great. I felt that the interviewers had a genuine interest in my submission and I could have talked for much longer than the allocated time I had.

    Although I have experience within the highways industry, my experience of gaining the EngTech outside of a highway base, shows that the route to EngTech can also be obtained by those currently working in roles or projects which deviate away from the norm. I would recommend to anyone thinking about trying for this qualification to go for it, no matter what age or stage in your career you are at. I found it a very rewarding experience.

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From Ice skating to EngTech

  • Renata Barnes

    Renata Barnes

    How gaining my EngTech gave clients a recognised standard

    After spending the first 20 years of my life in professional sport – Short Track Speed Skating – when I retired, wanting a more normal life I had no idea what I actually wanted to do. After starting a temporary placement in the Communications Centre on Highways England Area 4 contract I realised I LOVE roads! A place opened in the Traffic & Safety Team which I jumped at and was lucky enough to be sent back to college to study Traffic Engineering on day release. It was around this time I realised this industry was where I was always meant to be, with an ex traffic police officer as a father and being unfortunate enough to be effected by losing a family member in a Road Traffic Collision, I was made for Road Safety Engineering.
     
    Having not had the usual Civils background gaining Professional Qualification through the CIHT was definitely the way forward. Gaining my EngTech qualification was extremely important to me and my company, it gives a recognised standard that I would otherwise not have, giving clients the reassurance that they need. The CIHT have been instrumental in offering advice and guidance all the way through, they have been friendly and approachable and offered the support I needed.
     
    So now I’m looking to the next step, IEng, and I am happy that I’ll be progressing through this next step with the CIHT.

     

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From Junior Technician to Incorporated Engineer

  • Emma Towle

    Emma Towle

    How becoming Incorporated helped me gain a promotion

    After moving from Northern Ireland to Scotland at the age of 20, with a background in AutoCAD and Digital Mapping, I took up a position as Junior Technician at Atkins. I studied Civil Engineering on a day release basis over the next 4 years and gained an ONC and HNC. Shortly after this I moved to CH2M where I continued my studies and gained a Graduate Diploma in Civil Engineering which provided me with the level of qualification I needed to achieve Incorporate Engineer status (IEng).
     
    Over the years I have had the opportunity to work on wide range of projects and various disciplines within Highways and Transportation and this provided me with the experience I required to sit my Professional Review Interview for IEng.
     
    I attended a regular working group within CH2M set up by a member of staff who, a few years previously, had passed his CEng through the CIHT. This group provided an opportunity for a number of staff who were working towards their Professional Review to set targets for completion of objectives, share knowledge between each other and provide encouragement to the group members. The guidance I received from the group, Project Managers and my professional mentor gave me the confidence to apply for my professional review.
     
    As I progressed my career through a non-traditional education route, I felt it was important for me to achieve IEng to define myself as a professional engineer, and achieve a widely recognised qualification. Since passing I have achieved promotion and taken on a new role that would not have been available to me if I was not Incorporated.   
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From university to leadership roles

  • Vivian Robert

    Vivian Robert

    How gaining my CEng opened the door to leadership roles

    During my third year of studying Engineering, after having attended my first session on transportation engineering, I knew this was what I wanted to do going forward. I took three more courses in transportation engineering before I graduated. I pursued my Master’s degree in transportation engineering and specialised in traffic engineering. I went on to complete a PhD in Road Safety Engineering.
     
    At University I had the opportunity of working on a number of consultancy schemes which gave me a good initiation into the transportation engineering industry.  The traffic engineering and road safety projects that I led were personally fulfilling due to the significant societal benefits that these projects achieved through lives saved and congestion alleviation.
     
    The big breakthrough came about when I had an opportunity to work with a global consultancy firm in the Middle East offering services to the UK transportation industry.  I became the champion for professional qualifications within the organisation and was responsible for recruiting over 30 engineers to CIHT (then IHT). 
     
    I have since moved into a Client role in Qatar, where I have been working on strategy and policy related to traffic and road safety engineering over the past five years. I have been an active member of the CIHT Qatar Group serving a dual role as the Membership Development Officer and Web / Communications Officer. I see my involvement with CIHT as an opportunity to develop myself while giving something back to the profession.
    The next logical step was to attain the highly regarded Chartered Engineer qualification. CIHT offers a great support system for people aspiring to achieve professional qualification and are willing to put in the hard work in a structured and meticulous manner. Help is available at every step of the way through the Institution and through its various members who are ever keen to help. The requirements are clearly documented and further guidance is just a phone call or email away. The process is very detailed but extremely fulfilling and totally worth it.
     
    I attained the Chartered Engineer qualification in 2015 and have already begun to mentor candidates to achieve the highly regarded qualification. Armed with the newly attained professional status, I aspire to progress to leadership roles in transportation and road safety policy and strategy at the global level in the years to come. 
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From winning awards to winning business

  • Andrew Moseley

    Andrew Moseley

    How building a network has built my business

    My undergraduate degree was in Town Planning, but every semester at university I jumped at the chance to take transport related modules.

    In fact “jumping at chances” has been really important right through my career. When I was working in private consultancy under a Local Authority Framework I put myself forward for any opportunity that would broaden my knowledge.

    CIHT membership has played a central role in my career. Winning in the CIHT young professional of the year Award in 2013 gave me confidence, credibility and raised my profile in the industry; sitting and passing the new TPP transport planning qualification means I’m recognised as a Transport Planner by my peers; CIHT membership has helped me to build a strong network.

    And now, networking at CIHT seminars creates opportunities for my business – in fact we’ve just won a new client who I first met at a CIHT event.
     

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From Canadian cricket to construction career

  • Daniel Jackson

    Daniel Jackson

    How collaboration can drive the industry forward

    At school I didn’t apply myself and was categorised as an under achiever, upon reflection this was due to not having a clear vision of my career options.

    After leaving school I worked in a local leisure centre before heading to Canada where I played cricket for a summer and, without a career plan, I was considering a profession as a sports coach.

    It was not until I returned to the UK and secured a job as a trainee land surveyor on site at Costain Skanska’s A43 Silverstone Bypass project that I realised a career in construction was for me. I absolutely fell in love with the industry from the first day of being on site.

    While employed in roles ranging from engineer to estimator, I studied a HNC, a HND and finally a BSc (Hons) in Construction Management over a period of six years. In 2010 I moved in to business development – the same year I joined CIHT – and have been a business development manager at Skanska since last year.

    I joined the Institution because I felt like I had something to offer the industry. CIHT can bring the sector together to help to understand and address challenges in a collaborative, open platform.

    Having joined the East Midland Branch committee in 2010, I was asked to be a nominated member of Council in 2011 where I served for three years. I am currently the East of England Region’s communications officer and I sit on CIHT’s Procurement and Delivery Panel.

    I would encourage members to take an active role within the institution whether at a regional level, participating in training or just networking at events, because you really do get out what you put in. The industry needs to be brave, we face many challenges so use the learned society to share ideas and knowledge and make a real difference!
     

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From designing buildings to shaping cities

  • David Ubaka

    David Ubaka

    How I found the way to running my own consultancy.

    Training as an architect and urban designer was an unusual starting point for a transport consultant, but it made sense to me – streets, roads, pavements, and every other space between buildings define the buildings themselves.

    As an urban designer within Transport for London, I learned how rail, bus services and highways work. Understanding a really broad spectrum of issues with transport was a great foundation for me. These are the insights that opened the door to running my own consultancy.

    Right through my career I’ve never stopped learning about the relationship between “placemaking” and different modes of transport. CIHT membership – and my involvement with the Urban Design panel in particular – has been hugely important in helping me learn and develop throughout my career.

    I’ve shared knowledge and ideas with CIHT peers whose backgrounds are more engineering-focused than mine, and that’s been vital in shaping my input into documents like Boris Johnson’s “Mayor’s Transport Strategy”.

    Today, the insights and state of the art thinking I pick up through CIHT membership are vital to the rounded advice my consultancy offers its clients.

     

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From Graduate to Designing Roads

  • Emma Burns

    Emma Burns

    How EngTech gave me access to a new worldwide community

    My career to date has allowed me to work for Clients ranging from Local/Central Government as well as private businesses in locations such as Weymouth, Milton Keynes, Wales, Liverpool and most of Scotland. 
     
    Whilst studying for my ONC in Civil Engineering (part-time), I was working on Intelligent Transportation Systems that covered all Trunk Roads and Motorways within Scotland. I spent a lot of time during this period, carrying out the design and supervision for upgrading ITS technology such as Variable Message Signs, Weigh in Motion loops and SOS phones. I was tasked to provide feasibility studies, detail design as well as on site measurements/supervision to make sure construction was completed to time/budget. I found this particular project very rewarding as I was able to oversee from start to finish.
     
    On achievement of my ONC, I then attended university to study for my HNC in Civil Engineering. During this time, I started working for a company that did a lot of work in Milton Keynes where I spent time training new starts on site safety.  Throughout this period, I was also seconded to Street Lighting for a year, where I helped carryout site surveys in Weymouth/Dorset for the upgrade of street lighting in preparation for the Olympic Games. I was mainly involved in the preparation of lighting designs, primarily from a site health and safety perspective. 
     
    Currently, I am working as an Area Engineer on the South East of Scotland, where I have found my passion in making roads safe by carrying out road design to a high standard that ensures they stay that way. During this time I have gained an appreciation to the amount of time and skill it takes to maintain Trunk Roads and Motorways as well their surrounding areas, which although challenges my capabilities at times, I still find extremely rewarding.
     
    After becoming a Graduate Member of CIHT in January 2015, I have managed to work my way to Engineering Technician status in October 2015. The membership and CPD events, as well as the professional review experience, have given me access to the community of highways and transportation engineers worldwide. My EngTech qualification has also recently helped me gain a promotion with my current employer and has given me the confidence to progress further with my career. 
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From highways control room to the rail sector

  • Jodie Rowbottom

    Jodie Rowbottom

    How support from CIHT helped me gain a professional qualification.

    When I was 21 I saw an advert to join the Highways Agency Traffic Officer Service and I started as one of the first recruits to the control room in the West Midlands. I enjoyed working within the fast paced control room and event management environment but what really interested me was not just using the control room technology but how it worked and how adapting it could influence how incidents were managed within the control room and out on road.
     
    By 2009 I progressed to Control Room Operations Manager and in 2010 I was seconded into the Managed Motorways Programme to support the implementation of schemes in other Traffic Officer Regions where I began to take an interest in more project management roles. I became the Assistant Project Manager on the Birmingham Box Phase 3 scheme - a scheme which was in the construction phase and gave me the opportunity to work out on site and be directly involved in the project design and construction issues and challenges.

    In 2013 I began working for Ch2M Hill as an Assistant Project Manager on Smart Motorway schemes and I realised that I needed to formally evidence my capability and gain further qualifications as clients wanted to see my CV before I began working on their projects.

    I was introduced to the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) by Paul Unwin, the current Chair of CIHT West Midlands, and I was offered support to further my education. Paul helped me find a local mentor and we had regular one-to-ones where I received support in submitting my Engineering Technician qualification (EngTech) application and I was successful in gaining the qualification in 2014.
     
    I am now employed by London Midland (Rail Operator) as a Project Manager with a variety of projects such as the operational readiness and acceptance of two new train stations and the implementation of a new class of train into service.

    Gaining the EngTech qualification provided me with an engineering qualification that is recognised across the transport industry. Also, being a member of the CIHT and a regional committee member has helped me network and meet new people within the industry. I am a big advocate for people who, like me, have taken the non-standard route into the industry and have a strong experience based CV. I believe that we need to recognise these skills and experiences and, where possible, support people in evidencing these through formal qualifications.

    I am currently thinking about my next steps and whether the Incorporated Engineer qualification (IEng) is right for me. But this is just my story so far and both personally and professionally I still have a lot to learn about the industry and there is still more for me to achieve. What I do recognise is that I am most likely to gain the support in learning and development through the CIHT.
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From Trainee to Chartered Engineer

  • Rowland Gordon

    Rowland Gordon

    How becoming a Chartered Engineer led to new challenges

    After studying a BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering degree, I went on to pursue an MSc degree in Urban Civil Engineering. Soon after I started my MSc, I was accepted on a three year secondment as a Trainee Site Manager with Willmott Dixon Housing Southern Ltd working on various construction sites across the south of London including building environmentally friendly homes in Carshalton, Housing Regeneration schemes in Mitcham and an extension to a young offender’s prison in Bromley.
     
    I then went on to work for an in-house Consultancy Team at Wandsworth Council in 1996 working on a range of highway and traffic engineering projects. It was whilst I was at Wandsworth Council that I joined the then Institution of Highways and Transportation (IHT) in 2000. I had hoped to complete my career appraisal within a year of becoming a member of the IHT but a career move to Croydon Council in late 2000 coupled with the challenges of bringing up young children saw this aspiration falter. I however did not lose sight of my dream and after convincing a number of colleagues to become members of the CIHT and to pursue their Professional Qualifications over the years, I finally decided that I had to lead from the front by taking a leaf from my own book and get my Professional Qualification done. Even though I had pursued a number of postgraduate and senior management courses, I was not satisfied; in the back of my mind it bothered me that I did not have the recognised defining qualification of a professional engineer. 
     
    I therefore set myself a target of four months to put together my appraisal report and submit it. I wanted to be accountable to someone in terms of achieving the target and therefore shared my aspiration with friends who were already professionally qualified knowing that they would not let me miss the challenge I had set myself. 
     
    I was able to achieve my goal and I became a Chartered Engineer via the CIHT. I am now looking for new challenges and to encourage more members to do their professional appraisal and also become professionally qualified.

     

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From valuable networking to first female Northern Ireland Chair

  • Louise Dougan

    Louise Dougan

    How joining CIHT allows me to give something back to the next generation.

    I graduated from Queens University Belfast with a BEng in Civil Engineering. My first job, working for the Roads Authority in Northern Ireland involved designing traffic management and road safety schemes. I knew quite quickly that my passion was local transport and my career has progressed into transport planning and project management. I moved to London shortly after and had the fantastic opportunity to be a part of the core team that introduced the central London Congestion Charging Scheme in 2003. I’m not sure where I got the time but I also studied part time for a MSc in Transport from Imperial College London.

    Since moving back to Belfast and joining Atkins Limited in 2004, I’ve enjoyed a varied career and have been lucky to be involved in some hugely interesting projects both in Northern Ireland as well as across the UK, specialising in major business case development, public transport and bus rapid transit. I’ve recently moved into the area of business development, as part of our Transportation Win Work team, helping to manage and co-ordinate our strategic opportunities and tenders. My job takes me all over the UK and I get the opportunity to meet and work with a wide range of people.

    The CIHT has been an integral part of my professional life and I have been a member for over 21 years. I first joined as a student as a way of obtaining CPD and meeting like-minded professionals and then later becoming Chartered in 2006. I joined the local CIHT committee for Northern Ireland soon after as a way of extending my professional network. I have been involved in promoting the Institution, and careers in highways and transport to young professionals, students and school children. I was delighted to win the CIHT Young Professional of the Year in 2010 and I was elected as the region’s first ever female Chair for the 2015/16 term. I hope to use this opportunity to give something back. I am passionate about the next generation of engineers and transport planners and I believe strongly in providing opportunities for mentoring and support to enable our younger members to become professionally qualified.
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From accidents to academia

  • Deborah Sims

    Deborah Sims

    How Chartered status opened the doors of academia.

    I did a Civil Engineering degree at Kingston University – it was a sandwich course with an industry placement at Surrey Council. My first job was as an assistant engineer at the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, where I gained an insight into the proposal process for highways, as well as into their design and construction.

    I developed a strong interest in accident investigation and road safety engineering, and knew that a professional qualification could really move my career forward. Chartered status is the high water mark in our industry, so that’s what I pursued.

    Becoming a Chartered Engineer has been hugely helpful for me, opening the way for a management role with a leading engineering firm, and ultimately enabling my entry into academia.

    Being a member of CIHT has been important in other ways. It’s the other members that make the experience so valuable. Membership has allowed me to build an effective and diverse professional network.

     

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From Chartership to mentoring others

  • Maamle Okutu

    Maamle Okutu

    How becoming Chartered led to a promotion.

    My interest in engineering began at a rather tender age growing up in Ghana with an engineer father and having had the opportunity to visit the projects he worked on.

    I started paying attention to engineering in the broad sense and this informed my decision to study a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Whilst studying, I got involved in working on a number of different projects ranging from road infrastructure schemes to port expansion projects. What really drew me to Highway Engineering was a socio-economic survey I assisted with in some rural communities in Ghana. This made me realise how important basic access roads were to people in poverty stricken areas and the positive influence I could have on the lives on these people by helping to provide them with good roads.
     
    After completing my degree, I worked with the Department of Feeder Roads in Ghana where I was involved in the construction and maintenance of local road networks. In order to broaden my experience internationally, I left Ghana for England where I worked with Mouchel Group on a number of major maintenance and Local Authority schemes.

    I then joined AECOM (at the time Scott Wilson which later became URS) and that is when I began to realise the importance of a professional qualification. The support I got from AECOM in order to achieve this was immense. I enrolled on a part-time master’s programme at Newcastle University whilst still working full time in order to meet the educational benchmark required for gaining CEng accreditation. Working in highway and road safety engineering also enabled me to gain membership of the Society of Road Safety Auditors.

    I gained my CEng accreditation with the CIHT in 2014 which resulted in my promotion at work.

    The qualifications I have gained are recognised in industry and most clients I work for demand the professional qualification because it gives them the confidence that the people who provide services to them are competent. Having recognised the benefit of becoming chartered, I have started mentoring colleagues to also gain their professional qualification. I have applied to the CIHT to become a reviewer for the Engineering Council and have undertaken the training required.
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From construction to building a niche consultancy

  • Luke Meechan

    Luke Meechan

    How I networked my way to cutting edge consultancy.

    I started out by doing a vocational HND in Civil Engineering, then progressed to a Civil Engineering degree. Going to university was a great confidence booster for me.

    My first job was with a construction company. It gave me a solid grounding in the essentials of programme and project management, and in the skill of sharing information with sub-contractors.

    But the big leap for me was moving to Hong Kong. It was a fascinating place and the work was equally inspiring. I was an Assistant Resident Engineer on a slope stabilisation project. I had huge responsibilities which came with fabulous opportunities – managing designs, building teams and client relationships.

    I’ve been involved with CIHT since 2004 and it’s made a big difference to my career, contributing to my organisations credibility as well as providing the opportunity to develop myself and give something back to the industry.

    Today I co-run run a niche consultancy, advising public sector authorities on issues around flood risk and infrastructure asset management. CIHT Fellowship lets potential clients know that we are a serious proposition.

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From traffic engineer to first female CIHT President

  • Sheila Holden

    Sheila Holden

    How CIHT helped prepare me for senior management roles.

    My interest in transport began when I was studying geography at Bristol University where I became aware of the importance of transport and mobility to the success of cities. I started my professional life as a traffic engineer and went on to gain a Masters in Civil Engineering.  As well as doing traffic management and road safety studies I became increasingly involved in traffic assessments associated with development proposals and major highway schemes. I became a chartered civil engineer in 1986 after which my career moved into management, initially as a team leader in transport planning but eventually a much wider range of services.

    I also qualified as a town planner in 1994, went on to be an Assistant Director at Brighton & Hove City Council in 1996 and a Director at the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead in 2002.  There I was responsible for delivery of local authority services including transport planning, highway maintenance, traffic management, planning policy, development control and waste management.  

    I joined CIHT in the 1980s and became involved with the then South East branch (now Region).  This enabled me to network with colleagues from other organisations and widen my experience of the industry, which helped prepare me for senior management roles. I was elected to CIHT Council in 1994 and having served on various boards and committees was the first female CIHT president in 2013/14.

    I am now an independent consultant providing transport and planning advice to a range of public sector clients.
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If you are an existing member and want to find out how you can get involved in #journeys click here.