A Day in the Life: Trainee Project Engineer

As a family-run business, our people are at the heart of our business. To celebrate our employees and showcase what the construction and M&E industries have to offer, we will be sharing our ‘A Day in the Life’ campaign. This time we have Philippa Mackinnon, one of our Trainee Project Engineers.

To kick off, we have asked Philippa a series of questions to get to know her a little better, her day-to-day tasks as a Trainee Project Engineer and the value she brings to Watkins.

Q – Could you tell us a little about your role at Watkins? 

A – As a trainee project engineer, I assist the senior engineers, across all disciplines, with running different projects while also gaining my qualifications.

I am currently studying a Building Services Design Technician Apprenticeship. It’s 2 years and will allow me to progress onto the HNC level qualification which will be another 2 years.

Q – What about your background and how you entered the industry? 

A – I originally started at Watkins as a Document controller, it was my first full time job after leaving school. 

I did that for about 2 years before I was given the opportunity to move on into an Engineering job role.

Q – What does your typical day look like as a Trainee Project Engineer?

A – Every day is always different depending on where I am. If I’m in the office, I often write up sub-contractor orders, schedule out materials, mark up drawings, and get them approved by the client. 

However, if I’m on site I’ll walk around with either supervisors or other engineers to see how the project is developing. It allows me to see the different stages of a build while also asking questions about anything that I’m still learning in college.

I also attend college one day a week in London, which helps develop my understanding of the theory behind construction and why we follow certain processes. 

Q – What has been one of your favourite projects you have worked on during your time at Watkins? 

A – I’ve recently gotten more involved with a Mount Anvil project which offers some more unique communal areas, such as a swimming pool and screen rooms, that you don’t usually see on a job.

Q – Would you encourage others to enter the construction industry, specifically other women?

A – Definitely, construction is a career with so many different trades to specialise in and different levels to work at. It’s a more diverse industry than people realise, especially at design and management level, but I understand how it can be intimidating to women trying to get started since there is such an emphasis on “Women in Construction” instead of it being just another career path.

Q – And to finish it up, can you tell me a fun or interesting fact about yourself? 

A – I never know what to say! I did spend a month in Madagascar once doing a combination of volunteer work and traveling the country It was defiantly a once in a lifetime experience.