Paisley Grammar School 2005 – 2011, Stow College HNC Civil Engineering 2011-2012, Heriot Watt University MEng Civil Engineering 2012-2017
Highers; Graphic Communication – A, Physics – B, Maths – C, English – C, Business Management – C. HNC Civil Engineering – A. Masters of Civil Engineering 2:1
My first job was working in River Island while I was at school. Whilst at university I started working in Asda at the weekends on the checkouts. When I finished uni I started working as a Graduate Civil Engineer at Mott MacDonald.
We’re a global engineering, management and development consultancy.
Our purpose is to improve society by considering social outcomes in everything we do, relentlessly focusing on excellence and digital innovation, transforming our clients’ businesses, our communities and employee opportunities.
Mott MacDonald employ many different people from different sectors and different backgrounds including engineers (civil, mechanical, electrical, software, chemical etc…), scientist, environmentalists, transport planners, hydrologists, project managers and so many more!
I am a 27 year old Civil Engineer originally from Scotland, now living in Lincoln. I am a scout leader, avid crafter and new dog mum.
My name is Ayla and I live in Lincoln with my boyfriend and our 1 year old puppy George.
I am originally from Scotland but we moved down to Lincoln in 2019 and I was luckily able to transfer my job from the Glasgow office to the Sheffield office.
Outside of work you will find me either doing a craft project, volunteering as a scout leader or playing the sims.
homemade christmas crackers!
homemade face mask!
Blair Athol Scout Camp – 2018
I am a civil engineer in the geotechnical team. I work on jobs related to the ground beneath your feet. I have designed dams to collect drinking water, foundations beneath buildings and slopes that motorways and railways sit on.
I studied a Masters of Civil Engineering at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh.
In the summer between my 4th and 5th year I was lucky to be offered a summer placement at Mott MacDonald working in the Water Team.
Over 8 weeks I worked in the water team ranging from reprofiling rivers, reservoir design, water treatment works and looking at drainage for new housing developments. It was really interesting to be part of this team and to learn about how much work goes into getting clean water from the sky to your pipes!
Following graduation I started my big girls job in the geotechnical team in the Glasgow office. What I find so interesting about geotechnics is the chance to work on different projects everyday as everything civil engineers do have an element of geotechnics in them!
At the start of a development the client will come to us and say ‘I want you to build me a new hospital on this plot of land’.
The first thing we will do is have a look online and do a desk study to identify anything that might cause us problems in building here. We will look at the ground and see if its strong enough to build on and also look at old maps and see if the land might be contaminated by nasty pollutants (unfortunately our ancestors weren’t as environmentally friendly as we are these days!).
Once we’ve had a look online it’s time to design a ground investigation. This is when we will do some surveys to find out the ground composition underneath our new hospital. We want to know if the ground is soft – our hospital might sink! We can do lots of different types on investigations; we can use a digger to dig out a rectangle into the ground and see what the ground looks like. Or we can use a big drill and drill into the ground to get a core sample of what it might look like (think piercing a straw into a slice of cake and getting a cylinder of cake, except the cake is soil!).
Can you see the two different layers of soil in the pit??
Now we know how strong or weak the ground beneath our hospital is, we can design the foundation to make sure our hospital doesn’t wobble, sink or lean like the Leaning Tower of Piza!
Geotechnical engineering isn’t just about the ground beneath buildings; we also design flood walls to make cities safe from flooding, we help to design new railways and roads to help people get where they need to go and so many different projects!
I have been working as a civil engineer in the geotechnical team for 3 and a half years and I am really enjoying the variability, the chance to keep learning and the chance to design and make my mark on the world.
My Typical Day: Currently working from home so I log on at 9am, check my emails & my to-do list. My work day is always different depending on the project that I am working on that day! In general though it can range from report writing, checking other team members reports, reviewing ground investigation information, analysis of testing results and using different software's to design slopes and foundations.
I have been working from home and unfortunately had to give up some of my craft room so it can get quite messy and distracting! Especially with a doggo around!!
Today I had a catch up meeting with our client where we discussed a few railways projects that we are working on at the moment. Once the meeting was over I started checking a report that one of my team members had written about the redevelopment of a train station in the North East. Once I had checked that I updated a ground investigation specification that I had written before but since we issued it to the client we received some more information that has highlighted part of the railway track is bumpy and affecting the trains!
The most interesting thing about geotech is how different every day can be! Next week I am going to be out on site in Leeds supervising a ground investigation !
What I'd do with the money
I am going to use the money to design kits to help scout groups run STEM evenings!
Currently within scouting there are badges focussed on science and digital technologies, however there aren’t currently any badges on engineering. I would love to be able to put this money towards helping create resources to assist scout groups to introduce engineering to their younger sections!
I personally didn’t know about engineering and especially as a young girl always thought of it a ‘boys’ job but thankfully through scouting I was able to find a passion for building and designing. I luckily had scout leaders involved in STEM careers, which some may not have, so being able to provide the resources to help include this in there programme would be amazing!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
crafting civil engineer
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Being part of the team that designed the River Hull Flood Defence Scheme!
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
I used to want to be an Architect but a very smart guidance teacher introduced me to Civil Engineering & I love it!
What was your favourite subject at school?
I really enjoyed graphic communication ie technical drawing. I also enjoyed Maths & Physics!
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wanted to be an Architect but after a weeks work experience, I found it pretty boring :| Civil engineering is much more interesting!!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I talk wayyyyyy too much so there may have been a few punishment exercises!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I love sewing and crafting so if I wasn't an engineer I think I would be setting up a wee Etsy shop and selling some cute homemade clothes :)
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Not quite a singer or band but I cant stop listening to the classical pop music playlist on spotify!
What's your favourite food?
TACOS all day every day!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
For my 18th birthday I went to Aviemore and done a bungee jump! It was so scary but so much fun!!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1 - I would wish for me and my dog to have our own language so I would know what he wants when he whines. 2 - I would wish for all my bills to be paid forever so I could use my pay to buy fun things instead of boring adult bills! 3 - I would wish for my family & friends to live closer :)
Tell us a joke.
What type of cheese is made backwards? Edam (ps I know it's bad but I love cheese jokes)