Gavin Little - Graduate Civil Engineer - Atkin

Issued: Fri, 17 Jul 2020 00:00:00 BST

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I play music as a hobby – with my main instruments being guitar, ukulele and singing.

Tell us about your career journey so far

During my 4th year of university studying for a MEng degree in Civil Engineering, I completed a summer internship at Atkins within the Drainage Infrastructure team. I really enjoyed my first taste of engineering and done well in my role and was given a job with Atkins upon successfully achieving my MEng degree. I have now been with Atkins for 2 years as a Graduate Civil Engineer working on infrastructure projects throughout the UK as I work towards achieving Chartership with the Institute of Civil Engineers.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

My favourite subject in school was Graphic Communication and Product Design as this gave me my first experience of technical drawing and Computer Aided Design. Although I always had an interest in engineering and construction, I believe this class was what inspired me to pursue engineering as a career.

What subjects/qualifications are useful for your role?

The obvious subjects would be Maths, English, Physics, Graphic Communication and Product Design to name a few. However, I do feel like the performance skills I learned from Music (and Drama outside of school) have benefitted my confidence, communication and presentation skills so much in my early career.

What is a normal day in your role like?

Since working from home, my usual day involves attending meetings virtually to discuss project work and design development. I use Computer Aided Design software to created 3D designs of drainage networks and storage elements such as ponds, basins and swales. I do calculations and use software to make sure that what I design can collect all the water that falls during very bad rainfall events without flooding.

What's your favourite thing about your job?

My favourite experience so far has been when I was based on a construction site for 3 months as part of the team constructing a major highways project in Scotland that I had spent the previous year designing drainage elements for – seeing the designs I had made being constructed really inspired me and highlighted the importance of engineers in our world.

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?
Please share links to relevant resources.

As I work in drainage, I think a great and interesting STEM event would show how water flows inside pipes. A recommended activity for older users would be using PVC pipes and connectors to build drainage structures outside and then you pour water into one of the inlets and see where the water comes out (Link 1).

A simpler version that uses plastic bottles would be to build a ‘Water Wall’ where kids can pour water into a bottle and see how it flows from one bottle to another and finally out of the system (Link 2).


Link 1 -


Link 2 -

If you're a STEM Ambassador in Scotland and want to share your story you can download the form here.