John-Paul Moberly

MEng Civil Engineering, 2018

Why did you choose to study at the University of Edinburgh?

First and foremost I absolutely love Edinburgh as a city! The opportunity to study at such a prestigious institution and one of the best universities in the UK, while living in such an incredible city, was an opportunity I will forever be thankful for.

What path has your career taken since graduation?

I successfully applied to United Utilities (UU) for a graduate civil engineer role and started the September following graduation. The graduate scheme at UU offers the opportunity to work in various different roles and business areas and I took the opportunity to gain wide-ranging water sector experience.

I did graduate placements in the following roles: civil engineer (design assurance, asset diversion design, capital delivery detailed design); hydraulic engineer (wastewater treatment works design); project engineering manager; site engineer; and quantity surveyor.

Following the three-year graduate scheme, due to my interest in hydraulics I transitioned from civil to hydraulic engineering. I am still currently working in this team at UU.

What is your current role?

My current title is Senior Hydraulic Engineer. I am responsible for the hydraulic aspects of projects covering both water and wastewater business areas, and across the project lifecycle (feasibility, solution outline design, solution detailed design, construction and commissioning).

My primary area is wastewater treatment hydraulics, ensuring that new and existing wastewater treatment assets function in a hydraulically suitable manner. This means ensuring that the right amount of flow is going where it should, through careful design of process units, channels, pipes, weirs, distribution chambers etc by undertaking surveys and using hydraulic modelling software.

As a hydraulic engineer, I have worked on projects covering wastewater treatment works, water treatment works, flow measurement and compliance, combined sewer overflows, distribution (network) pipelines and pumping stations.

A typical week involves ongoing project meetings, reviewing designs against asset standards, using hydraulic modelling software to create and review designs, writing hydraulic reports, and of course - emails! I also mentor and manage graduate hydraulic engineers. This is particularly rewarding as I get to use my experience and knowledge to help more junior team members flourish.

What experiences do you feel helped you get to your current position?

My civil engineering degree was crucial in giving me an interest and passion in fluid mechanics, which was ultimately what led me to apply for a job in the water industry and change to the dedicated hydraulic engineering team.

My MEng was an important aspect in my journey towards chartership with the Institution of Civil Engineers (CEng); allowing me to start my Initial Professional Development (IPD) towards CEng without any further experiential learning, as would be required with only a BEng.

The graduate placements I completed gave me valuable wide-ranging experience and were vital in allowing me to sign off many of my IPD attributes. Following a successful professional review, as a chartered civil engineer I was able to apply for a senior engineer role within UU and was recently successful.

How have you used the skills and knowledge developed during your degree in your career?

Yes - the fluid mechanics and hydraulic engineering modules from my degree have been crucial to form an understanding of the theoretical hydraulic principles which I use daily.

Did you do any work experience while you were a student at the University of Edinburgh, and if so how did it help you in determining the field you wanted to pursue professionally?

I undertook a summer internship with Sir Robert McAlpine between the third and fourth years of my degree. It was very helpful in understanding how a professional workplace operated in the construction sector. Although I enjoyed the experience, it helped me realise that I didn't want to work for a construction contractor going forward.

Can you tell us of any personal or professional achievements in your career so far?

My proudest moment to date was successfully obtaining the title of Chartered Civil Engineer with the Institution of Civil Engineers.

If you could offer some advice to prospective and current students what would it be?

If you are a problem solver, enjoy the technical side of engineering and using equations, calculations and software to solve those problems, then water industry hydraulics could be the career for you!

John-Paul Moberly
John-Paul Moberly