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Claire Gott, Senior Engineer

A key member of our rail team, Claire worked as part of the London Bridge station design management team.

Recently awarded an MBE for services to engineering and her charity work in Cameroon, Claire is a design manager working on major infrastructure and commercial projects in central London. In 2011 she was awarded NCE Graduate of the Year, representing the ICE as a role model for young engineers and she now chairs the ICE Education and Inspiration Panel which is focused on inspiring the next generation of engineers. Claire also promotes careers in engineering through her founding role at the charity Cameroon Catalyst, an independent charity that works with engineering specialists to help facilitate sustainable development in rural Cameroon.

Claire said: “I strongly believe that it is our responsibility, as practicing engineers, to engage with the younger generation and equip them with the skills to successfully meet the challenges of tomorrow and secure the future of UK engineering. I was inspired to go into engineering after being part of a school trip to Tanzania, helping to rebuild an orphanage. Seeing how practical hands-on skills could be applied to have such a positive impact on a community sparked my passion for engineering.”

I wanted to make a difference

I always knew I wanted a career where I could be hands on, where I could create or build things which would make a difference to people’s lives.  But it was when I was on a sixth form trip in Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro when we were helping to build an orphanage that I realised how much I enjoyed tackling these structural challenges and the difference my own contributions could make to people’s lives. This was my eureka moment, and I realised then and there I wanted to go into civil engineering. 

Diversity is the key

I joined WSP as a graduate structural engineer based in Birmingham, and was fortunate enough to work on projects from many different sectors including retail, residential, health and commercial. When I realised I wanted to focus on the design management side of things I was given the opportunity to relocate to the London Bridge Station redevelopment project.

Grab opportunities with both hands

I always wanted to be a design manager, but moving into the rail sector wasn’t something I had planned.  Now I’m really glad I made that move.  I knew about London Bridge Station and thought it was a fantastic project to have the opportunity to work on, as it will leave a real legacy and change so many people’s lives in and around London.  My role as design package manager of the interim works meant that I ensured each construction stage had minimal impact on the operation of the station, commuters and staff; it involved lots of consultation with Network Rail, clients and colleagues from across the business. 

The rail sector is so diverse

The great thing about working in rail is that there are a huge number of disciplines involved. I love the fact that rail is really growing, with so much modernisation underway, which presents opportunities to work internationally.  

Passionate about engineering

I am very passionate about my wider industry work. I sit on the Green Construction Board where we’re trying to help the industry adopt a low carbon and sustainable approach. I also represent the youth in our sector at the ICE where I’m helping to develop school engagement activities. 

I’m co- founder of charity Cameroon Catalyst, a group of volunteer students, engineers and specialists who lend their expertise to help facilitate sustainable development in villages in North East Cameroon. Each year we deliver a community led infrastructure development project to improve the quality of life and empower local villagers. We have gone above and beyond what I imagined for the charity and over the past five years we have delivered a new school, medical centre and a solar electrification project. It really helped me gain experience in leading live projects and tackling a variety of technical challenges before I even started my career at WSP.

Bring together your skills and what you enjoy

It’s important to think about what you enjoy and link that in with the skills you have. There are so many roles in engineering and rail that require different skill sets and I have definitely found the one that suits me. I really enjoy working at WSP and I’m really excited about the future of rail.