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Chris Ryan - Engineer
Chris’ journey with Lithos
I joined Lithos as an Engineer in 2019 after working for a drilling contractor since graduating in 2016. Lithos offered the perfect opportunity for a better balance between sitework and office work because, at Lithos, an engineer will often see a project through from writing the desk study to doing the fieldwork and then to writing the final report. Previously, as a site-based engineer, I would be supervising drilling rigs and logging soils/rock and producing the odd factual report; however the work at Lithos is a lot more diverse and challenging with different problems to solve for every site. Working for Lithos has also allowed me to have a better work/life balance with more time spent at home in the evenings rather than working and staying away every week.
Lithos also encourages SI engineers to work with the remediation team for 6 months to gain experience in the many different techniques and methods used to remediate sites. I have recently had the opportunity to do this and have benefitted greatly from the experience. I have supervised and validated the removal of contaminated material on site, undertaken soil cover validations, and produced remediation strategies and validation reports. This has helped my understanding when completing sitework and writing reports as I have experienced the techniques that maybe recommended to remediate or prepare a site for its proposed end use.
The training and experiences with both the SI and remediation teams have helped me develop and grow as an Engineer and have taken me closer to achieving my aim of chartership in the near future.
George’s journey with Lithos
I graduated in 2013 with a honours degree majoring in geology and joined Lithos as a Graduate Engineer. In my eight years at Lithos I have gained practical experience in both site-based ground investigations and remediation, plus office-based report writing, contaminated land assessment and geotechnical design. I particularly enjoy the challenges and problem solving required to deliver bespoke and specialist investigations at the quoting, fieldwork and reporting stages of our investigations.
I have been given the training to work in accordance with geotechnical and contaminated land guidance in a safe and effective manner, notably being CSCS accredited to work on construction sites, IOSH accredited to supervise geotechnical investigations and PTS accredited to work on rail projects.
After almost 6 years at Lithos, and thanks to the training and opportunities made available to me, I achieved chartership status in June 2020.
Going forward I will be developing my commercial and management skills to reflect the change in my responsibilities towards managing a team of engineers over several sites and projects.
What did you enjoy about your year with Lithos?
I loved working with the friendly, professional team at Lithos. They supported me in my learning, but also gave me the confidence to work independently on important tasks. There were plenty of training opportunities to be involved in and I gained many skills that I have used in my career to date.
What did you learn?
The techniques used to monitor and sample boreholes for gas and water, and the importance of accurate and reliable data. My experience taught me how to analyse data to assess risk and then incorporate this into a methodical and clear report for the client. It also showed me the importance of risk assessments for health and safety e.g. lone working, machinery etc. Lithos are very supportive and make sure you have the right tools to do the job: company van, equipment, work uniform, PPE.
Working for Lithos gave me an insight into different areas of the industry and the different career pathways available.
How has the experience helped you?
It gave me the confidence to continue my career in the construction industry and showed me how diverse and supportive the industry can be, particularly as a woman.
Would you recommend us?
Yes I would definitely recommend Lithos.
What have you since gone on to do?
I now work for Hanson UK on the graduate scheme. Hanson is a supplier of building materials to the construction industry. I have recently been given the role of Assistant Unit Manager (Graduate Trainee) for Shap Beck Quarry, Low Gelt Quarry, Wigan and Tuebrook Depot.
My experiences with Lithos were both memorable and valuable and I am very proud of what I achieved throughout the year. I learned a great deal about myself, and working in the professional world. Furthermore, Lithos were very sensitive to my needs – I will always be most grateful for their support.
The placement year enabled me to successfully apply geological skills learned during my undergraduate degree in a business environment. I was exposed to different types of geological jobs in the three departments: site investigation, remediation and contaminated land, and I particularly enjoyed the wide variety of work this provided.
My main tasks were to monitor gas and water boreholes, conduct water sampling and soakaway tests, and assist the engineers when needed. I also observed engineers perform soil cover validations, CBR testing, trial pitting, drilling and rock coring. I helped organise equipment calibration and ordering of new supplies. My administrative tasks included handling large data sets in Excel and writing front ends to gas reports and water letters. In addition, I learned how to put work plans together and execute them effectively. Furthermore, the job responsibilities allowed me to develop life skills such as independence, time management, organisation and accuracy, and the importance of seeking appropriate advice when needed. I also had to problem solve in real life situations and learn how to effectively communicate with people.
Lithos were really supportive and made sure I was fully confident and understood my job. Above all, they ensured I received all the right support to get through the year. Prior to my placement, I knew little about a geologist’s role in the construction industry, but I am now aware of the wide range of geological jobs available. I would highly recommend a placement year or career working for Lithos to any geology students.