15 OCT 2015

Robbie McKillop, BakerHicks’ director for Public Sector, talks nurture, nature and success

Robbie responds to a Q&A session for Urban Realm's 2015 Engineering Survey

What can be done to nurture the next generation of engineers?

Engagement at grass roots (school and university) level is starting to reap its rewards, raising awareness of the industry with students of all ages. Dedicated and tailored support post-employment is then key, with exposure to a wide range of projects to maximise experience and develop skill levels of young engineers.

At BakerHicks, we invest in ‘home grown’ talents. Through our graduate training programme, we offer young engineers on the job training, supported by qualified and highly experienced colleagues. This directly contributes to their development, both in learning technical skills and in the more practical aspects of managing projects and design teams.

As part of a Group, the programme also exposes our graduates to much more than just engineering; they’re encouraged to participate in management activities, backed by a variety of professional development courses, helping them grow into strategic decision makers of the future.

Are engineers still undervalued by other construction professionals?

Our engineers feel like valued members of multi-disciplinary design teams.  With projects often involving challenging topography or ground conditions, other construction professionals rely on specialist engineering expertise to deliver projects on time and to budget. Civil and structural engineers are trained to develop cost effective sub-structure solutions; mechanical and electrical engineers are skilled in efficient and sustainable building services design meeting the latest building regulations and BREEAM requirements. These are skills which can lead to noticeable savings in time and money, meaning happy clients and mutual respect amongst our peers. 

What has been your practice’s greatest achievement in the past year?

On the back of some top quality project delivery and an expanding portfolio of projects, we’re proud to have seen a sustained period of growth within the Scottish business. We’ve been fortunate to work with award winning architects; steadily gaining a reputation for making cost effective designs a reality. This is demonstrated in high levels of repeat business from local authorities, universities and the NHS.

Increased brand presence across the central belt, in particular with the implementation of BIM, combined with positive client feedback is hugely encouraging for the company going forward.