Michael Bonar

Assistant Engineer at Leicestershire County Council’s (LCC) Engineering Services department

Michael Bonar wearing an orange work outfit

Name and role

Assistant Engineer at Leicestershire County Council’s (LCC) Engineering Services department

When did you join Waterman Aspen?

February 2020

What does a typical day look like in your role or secondment?

I am currently acting as Accredited NEC4 Supervisor for a junction improvement scheme in Hinckley, Leicestershire on behalf of LCC. This involves me arriving each morning to go through the works for the day ahead with the Contractor and be there to ensure works are delivered in accordance with the design and specification. As with any construction project, there are days when they almost blend into one and others where the pace is so fast, it can be difficult to keep track of what’s going on.

As such, being here and carrying out this role, has provided me with invaluable experience to see how a project is delivered from the design to construction, right down to the smallest detail to ensure quality is maintained in the form of inspections and testing regimes. Also, being exposed to the NEC4 Contract has given me an appreciation of balancing the need to ensure my role as the Supervisor is in accordance with the Contract, whilst maintaining good relationships with the Contractor. This, I feel, is a skill that needs constant development as, not only are you dealing with a fixed mechanism (i.e. the Contract), but it is also about dealing with people and their respective personalities.

What training or education have you received at Waterman Aspen?

From the beginning, Waterman Aspen have been very supportive with my development. Firstly, they allowed me to continue my studies by granting me one study day per week – this gave me the breathing space to focus my remaining time and energy to achieve a First Class BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering and Infrastructure from the University of Derby.

They also provide access to the company LinkedIn Learning account, which allows staff to improve on skills in their own time. Finally, whilst carrying out my current role as NEC4 Supervisor, I was placed onto the Accreditation course and was supported throughout by my colleagues to be successfully accredited.

What’s the best thing about working for Waterman Aspen?

From my experience, trusting me to represent them from the very beginning and having discussions on what direction I can take my career with Waterman Aspen.

What would you say to someone interested in a career in your role?

In my opinion, it has been one of the best learning experiences in my working career. It can be intimidating at the beginning, not knowing all the answers to problems, dealing with various personalities and carrying out a role where everyone will collectively know far more than you in terms of how things are built. But at the same time, this means there is an abundance of knowledge that, if retained and recorded, will allow you to go into almost any situation confidently and without second guessing.

Of course, you can learn the theory sat comfortably at a desk, but I feel you learn far more by getting out there and getting down in the mud to see how things are really built. So I would highly recommend that anyone interested in Civil Engineering grabs the opportunity to get out on a site, spends time with people who are time served and banks all that information, as it will only benefit you in the long run.

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