Trainee Project Engineer


Isobella is a Trainee Project Engineer in the operations department at Watkins. Originally starting as a part time document controller whilst completing her law degree, Isobella has now been at Watkins for 3 years and has completed her HNC in Building Services and has just started her HND in Building Services Engineer with the hope of qualifying as a Quantity Surveyor in the future. Isobella splits her time between the office and being out on site, assisting senior project engineers.

Her favourite part about her job is feeling like she’s always learning something and the variety of work, she enjoys working at Watkins because of the family feel and how friendly everyone is.

There’s always something going on and a new experience to be had, especially where I’m still training. I like being able to put the theory from university into practice on site.

Meet the team Q&A


Job title:
Trainee Project engineer

Day-to-day responsibilities:
I assist the senior project engineers on running each project, it could be anything from downloading drawings, hiring plant equipment, orders, payments and so on.

Do you go to site often?:
I go to site usually once a week for the jobs I’m currently working on. We have a weekly site meeting with the builders to discuss design and progress, as well as with the on site supervisors.

How long have you been working for Watkins?:
I’ve been working for Watkins for 3 years. I started as a document controller then after 8 months my job changed to a trainee engineer.

Is there training involved in becoming an engineer?
Yes, I started my HNC in 2018 at college in Building Services and completed it in January 2021. And now I’ve just started my HND in Building Services which began in September 2021 and is a 2 year course. After that I will work towards getting my degree.

What do you hope to do once you’ve progressed through all of your training?
Before I started at Watkins I was already at university studying law, and started at Watkins part time whilst I was finishing my degree. I’m hoping that once I’ve completed my HND I can do an add on to my Law Degree to become a Quantity Surveyor. Watkins doesn’t currently have any QS’s so I’d be the first if they’ll have me!

Are there other women on site or in your job role?
We had a female project engineer who I gained experience from and then there’s also another younger female engineer who is just starting her HNC this year so we’re all at different stages of our career. There’s also a few more females on site.

What’s the favourite part about your job?
Meeting new people and feeling like I learn something new all the time – there’s never a dull moment! There’s always something going on and a new experience to be had, especially where I’m still training. I like being able to put the theory from university into practice on site.

Do you have a mentor at Watkins?
I work with a few engineers because my training is based across all disciplines – mechanical, electrical and plumbing – so I work with someone from each division. I also work alongside other engineers and supervisors so I have a good team to learn from.

What do you like best about Watkins?
It’s a family orientated firm and my Dad works here too – there are quite a few employees across different generations of families here. Everyone feels like they’re on neutral ground, we’re all on the same level – whenever you’re in the office or on site everyone is welcoming and chatty so you’re always learning and not sat in silence all day! I like how the office is set up, we’re all together with no separate offices which is really nice.

What’s a typical day like?
It can vary – I have set days I go to the site. On site days I’d get the train to London, meet the Supervisor and walk around the site to see how everything is progressing and find out if there’s any issues. We have design meetings with the builders to find out what’s up and coming on the job for the next month or so and what we need to get ready for the installers to make everyone’s lives easier. I’d write up any meeting notes and then head home. But if I’m in the office, it’s normally inductions, drawings, orders – anything that needs processing to get the job rolling.