Civil Engineer Jonathan Han has gained valuable experience working on infrastructure projects here in the UK and abroad. Exposed to numerous roles within the sector, from operations to business strategy, Jonathan is now working in the technological forefront of construction, digital engineering.
How would you describe your time at The Blue Coat School?
My time at Blue Coat was great, particularly as I had transitioned from another school. A section of my previous school emigrated over to Blue Coat, which made the transition quite smooth; making many new friends amongst the old. The classmates in my year were a joy to be with and very like-minded to achieve well in life, which helped to ensure that I was just as motivated. I also met my partner at Blue Coat, Samantha Wong who is now a Clinical Neuro-Psychologist, and I can say that we have been happy together ever since!
How did your experience at the School prepare you for your career?
The teachers at the school were always helpful, supportive and inspiring to help you learn and bring the best out of you. I was able to learn and keep myself very organised, which not only helped my A-Level preparations and exams, but has helped me throughout University and my career to date.
What has been your path since leaving?
After leaving Blue Coat, I embarked to study Civil & Structural Engineering at the University of Liverpool with a Scholarship and by making the most of my work experience, I gained sponsorship by Carillion plc (a FTSE250 Engineering and Construction firm) through the ICE QUEST Scheme. I gained further invaluable experience during my summers at University in numerous departments and worked across the UK, including a rail link project in Scotland. Being a Civil Engineer is a very fulfilling and satisfying career, as every day poses a different challenge to conquer.
Upon graduation, I worked on various projects around the UK and abroad with several of the UK’s biggest engineering and infrastructure firms. I have been heavily involved in numerous sectors including Smart Motorways, Overhead Transmission Lines, Utilities, Highways, Water and most recently Light Rail (i.e. Manchester Metrolink Extension). I have been very fortunate and have been exposed to numerous roles, including operations; estimating; commercial; design and business strategy which has ultimately enabled me to become a well-rounded Chartered Civil Engineer.
What do you do now?
I currently work in the technological forefront of construction – digital engineering. Having utilised my experiences from numerous functions and departments, I have been able to develop and integrate new systems of work within the industry to improve efficiencies and margins throughout a project lifecycle.
I am still very much active within the ICE network at local and national levels and have been promoting STEM subjects since 2007. I am currently the ICE Manchester Chair and am representing and responsible for organising events for the thousands of civil engineers in the Greater Manchester Region. I am also entrepreneurial, and have become a Director of an Engineering Learning and Development Company, and Co-Authoring an Engineering Professional Review Exam Book and website.
From August 2017, I am embarking on a Full-time MBA Course at the University of Manchester, upon which I aim to utilise the new skills and knowledge learnt and apply it in my career – potentially towards leading an Engineering/Construction Firm or Consultancy in the long-term future.
What would be your advice to students today?
I have a few quick tips which I hope students may take on board, as it could make a big difference in the future…
- Work experience is very important. Be curious and ask questions.
- Seek funding, whether scholarships or sponsorship, wherever possible.
- Apprenticeships, Institutional Sponsorship and Company Sponsorship are on offer.
- If you don’t ask – you don’t get. So don’t be afraid to ask.
- It does not matter whether you go to University or which University you choose – your work ethic, determination, to learn and do, and communication skills will ultimately get you far in what you want to achieve.
- Do not hesitate to ask questions… in school, University, or in the workplace.
- Networking and meeting new people is an important aspect to consider as they can open many opportunities and exciting adventures.
- Never be afraid to take a risk or leave a company to benefit your career and development.
- Consider being Entrepreneurial. There is no harm in taking a different path from the status quo.
- Enjoy life! A good work/life balance is important – which many, including myself, sometimes neglect.