James Davison QA
15 July 2019

James Davison QA

James Davison, Senior Technician in the Geotechnical and Geo-Environmental Team was a recent winner at the SYSTRA Business Excellence Awards in the category of Technician Apprentice of the Year.

Here we talk to James about his journey so far…

Take us through your decision to become an apprentice, and why the GEO Team?
I was made very aware of apprenticeship schemes at Secondary School and the benefits of being an apprentice i.e. gaining on-the-job experience whilst studying on day-release to gain professional qualifications. Ultimately, I wanted to become an apprentice because I knew too many people who had completed 6th form, attained good degrees and either ended up struggling to find a job or settling in a job irrelevant to their degree. I wanted to ensure I pursued a career I was interested in, which also offered good job security, so an apprenticeship was a complete no-brainer for me.

Throughout secondary school I always excelled in STEM subjects and I grew curious of geotechnical engineering and geology when I was amazed by the scale of geotechnical engineering works behind the London 2012 Olympics, The Burj Khalifa, and coastal cities around the world. Engineering is also within the genes as my Great Granddad worked on constructing the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge, and my paternal Granddad was an LUL engineer who tunneled for the Victoria and Jubilee Lines and the Channel Tunnel.

What 3 things are you most proud of in your SYSTRA career?

  • Acting as Lead Engineer for the first time on a small railway project.
  • Delivering “QGIS Exploratory Hole Location Plan” training to everyone within the Geo-Technical and Geo-Environmental team and an associate director.
  • Being accepted onto the BEng Degree Apprenticeship Programme at Teesside University upon graduating with a HNC to a high standard this year.

What are you most looking forward to as your career progresses?
I’m most looking forward to my future Lead Engineer roles on high profile jobs to gain further experience with managing projects, workloads, finances and meeting client requirements. As a result of this I will be able to expand my network and work towards building strong relationships with clients and sub-contractors, which I know can be invaluable to the company. As I progress through my career, I look forward to building-on and accumulating all the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to be a Chartered Engineer. This has been a personal goal since I started my career when I was 17y/o and I aim to achieve CEng status whilst in my twenties.

Why do you think you’ve been so successful? What advice would you give any young person joining the industry?
I’ve strived to learn something new every day in the office, or out on-site, since the first day I started working for SYSTRA. Over time I believe this work ethic has helped me develop a wide range of professional skills and has enabled me to grow very quickly within the company. I consider myself lucky to work in such a great team and I’m always grateful for the trust and support I receive from my colleagues and the opportunities they present to me; I’d say thanks to them for aiding my success.

To any young person joining the industry I would simply say: your possibilities are endless in Engineering, so never say ‘no’ in turning down new opportunities which will help you learn or put you out of your comfort zone. I’ve found you can learn a lot from colleagues and the ‘real world’ that textbooks can’t teach you, so always quiz your colleagues and take-note of their advice and the experiences they’ve learned from.

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