Tom Le Gallais

The concept of ‘capital schemes’ means a typical day can include a variety of different construction or engineering projects – each scheme comes with its own unique challenges and opportunities to learn. A typical day might involve: the review of designs or proposals from our designers or consultants, evaluating a project tender submission from a contractor, or presenting a project, programme and commercial update to a project board or asset owner. Projects can also vary in terms of scope and stage of development.. Examples of current projects include: the demolition of a redundant sludge processing facility; the excavation of 150,000 tonnes of rock and stabilisation of the new slope; and, the design and construction of a new £75 million sewage treatment works.

What do you think are the three most important skills to succeed in your career area?
Technical and analytical – to apply engineering theory or evidence engineering problems
Lateral thinking and confidence – to explore alternative solutions
Communication – to discuss new concepts or ideas with technical and non-technical colleagues

Was this something you planned to do or did you change direction at any point in the past? If so, what was that and was it easy to do?
I decided to pursue a career in civil engineering whilst in sixth-form and following a three year degree in Civil Engineering, I joined the department as a graduate engineer. Over the last five years I have helped deliver projects including St Aubin’s Village Improvement scheme to flood alleviation tunnels (20m deep) below St Helier as well as a secondment with a UK consultant for nine months before joining the Capital Project Delivery team. The construction industry is unlike many others in that job opportunities are available at a range of different levels and educational requirements. Many senior engineers from the department as well as industry experts joined the industry with minimal qualifications and, through hard work and dedication, have achieved senior roles and responsibilities.

What do you love most about working in your career area?
Working with new teams on di erent and complex projects to overcome engineering challenges and problems. There is also a real variety to my work as it involves a range of aspects of engineering, such as civil, process, mechanical, electrical and geotechnical.. The work often has a political dimension and might be a current news topic that may add another layer of complexity or new challenges. Moreover, it is satisfying to physically see new infrastructure in operation and essential for the efficient running of our Island.

Are there any negative aspects of working in your career area that people considering it should be aware of?
Obviously, as with any construction-related scheme, there are busy days and late finishes to complete major phases of the project and where the room for error is minimal. From personal experience, getting to grips with engineering and construction on a small island with minimal available resources combined with the complexities of local government and politics can be challenging at first but it is learning curve!

What training / quali cations did you undertake for your current role or are you currently undertaking?
My first qualification was a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering before joining the department. I am currently, with support from the department, studying
a Master’s degree in Water and Waste Engineering with Loughborough University and by distance learning. Once complete the additional degree will allow me to apply for Chartered Membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers. The option of distance learning provides new opportunities for those living in Jersey.

Is there any other information that would be of interest to someone thinking of this career?
Enrolling on an engineering course that is accredited by a professional membership body, such as the Institution of Civil, Mechanical or Electrical Engineers, is definitely an advantage because the training received during your time at university will allow you to apply for professional quali cations that are recognised on a global scale. I would also recommend any opportunity to gain experience in industry. Undergraduate placements are offered by the Department which are an excellent way to gain an insight into the work we do.

Related Posts