National Women in Engineering Day – Avril Tucker

Avril Tucker 1

Post by Avril Tucker, principal geotechnical engineer

After doing Maths and Science based A-levels, it was a natural progression for me to choose to do a degree in engineering. Engineering was particularly attractive to me, as I knew I would be able to do some site work, which would get me out in the open air.

Whilst at university I was inspired by my soil mechanics lecturer, who was very interesting and motivating, sparking my interest in the way the ground behaves. After this I was set on securing a role as a geotechnical engineer following my graduation.

From this point I worked on a variety of different projects, with the Audenshaw Dam specifically standing out in my memory. This is a 1000m long earth dam that was constructed as part of the M60 motorway. It was very satisfying to see this project come to life, and I gained a lot of experience from it.

I get satisfaction from working on projects with interesting geotechnical risks, ground conditions, design and analysis. So I will want to be able to continue increasing my knowledge and experience from some challenging and notable schemes.

My job differs from day to day, with some days focussing on one main action – maybe a detailed check of a large Ground Investigation Report and the associated interpretation of ground conditions, or checking calculations with some geotechnical analysis software.

However it often includes activities such as: a session preparing a fee estimate and looking at resources for a new scheme, liaison on design issues, and maybe some line management and recruitment actions. Although I recently managed to get a sunny day for a recent visit to a site with a failing dry stone retaining wall in the Oldham hills, which was a real bonus.

Doing an engineering degree opened up many options for me, and so I had plenty of choice when picking out my future career. It is an industry that is inclusive of everyone, and I have gained a lot of joy from it over the years.

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