Project Manager (CivEng) | Fran Wormald

Fran is a project manager with a background in civil engineering at WSP and has been there for 7 years.

She studied Civil Engineering at the University of Bristol and she is also a STEM Ambassador and sits on the Young Rail Professionals London sub-committee.

No one should expect it [a group project] to all be perfect straight away. You have to be patient with people and get through the difficult bits of team projects first and get to the best bits later down the line.

Fran wormald

Sections of this video

  • Educational Background- 00:10
  • Choosing to go to university- 00:45
  • Choosing to study civil engineering- 03:10
  • Advice for students choosing their subjects- 04:58
  • A Day in the life of a project manager- 05:45
  • The technical aspects – 07:15
  • How Fran discovered engineering – 08:30
  • Unexpected career surprises- 09:20
  • Misconceptions about this career path- 09:52
  • Childhood aspirations – 11:05
  • Experiences as a woman in engineering- 11:35
  • Communication skills – 12:25
  • Time management – 12:50
  • How to survive group work – 13:40
  • Advice for those just starting out- 16:57

THE GUIDE TO SURVIVING GROUP WORK

Yes, group work can be very painful, especially when you’re working with people who may be very different to you, but here are some tips from Fran, that she has learned from being a project manager to help things run more smoothly:

Establish roles very early on according to people’s different strengths

Make sure to do this explicitly and early on. Things tend to work smoothest when everyone knows exactly what they should be doing and are kept accountable for it!

Myers Briggs test and Belbin team roles

So you’ve decided to work out everyone’s roles but don’t know how to actually do this, well there are two really helpful resources.

  1. The Myers Briggs test – This is a personality test that is particularly good for working out your strengths and weaknesses with regard to working styles. They can also just be very insightful, interesting and good to do just for fun!
  2. Belbin team roles – This is a list of 9 team roles that make for successful teamwork. This is not to say that every team needs 9 people as some people may have the strengths and weaknesses of more than one of the ‘team roles’. To make a successful team, you can use what you already know about yourselves or what you have learned from the Myers Briggs test to assign the roles to each member of the group which will help you work most effectively. More about this here.

Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing

Lots of ‘ing’ words, yes, but these are the typical four stages that a team will go through when working on a project. If you are aware of these stages (especially as a project manager/leader) you can be more prepared to deal with potential struggles.

Stage 1: Forming

There is a lot of dependence on the leader here for direction and guidance. There isn’t much agreement within the team and the roles of each individual are unclear.

Stage 2: Storming

This is where members of the team are trying to establish themselves within the group and there may be power struggles but the team must remain focused on the goal to avoid emotional issues.

Stage 3: Norming

This is where agreement and consensus form in the group and the roles of each member are clear and accepted. Big decisions are usually made by the group and smaller decisions are delegated to individual members or smaller groups.

Stage 4: Performing

At this point, the team knows why they are doing what they are doing and require little participation from the leader. Any disagreements are resolved positively and any necessary changes are made by the team.

These descriptions are only snapshots so if you would like to know more about this, you can read about it here

So How Can I Get into Civil engineering?

Useful A-Level subjects to study in order to get into Civil Engineering:

  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Design and Technology

For GCSE students, it’s a good idea to have some of your options be subjects that allow you to study some of the useful subjects at A-Level (or equivalent/alternative).

Fran studied Mathematics, Physics, and English at A-Level and she chose Geography, History, French and Spanish at GCSE.

How much would I earn as a Civil Engineer?

This does depend on where you choose to work but civil engineering salaries can start from £23,500 a year and from there the average salary for a civil engineer who is a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) is almost £50,000.*

* https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/consulting-civil-engineer

Frans’s recommendations

Google Docs – https://www.google.co.uk/docs/about/

Doodle – https://doodle.com/

Microsoft Teams – https://teams.microsoft.com/start

Microsoft Excel – https://products.office.com/en-gb/excel

These are some of the resources that Fran recommends for collaborative work

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