Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Civil Engineering Is All around Us: Bridges, Cars and Buildings' Three Decades after Ditching Her Fledgling Teaching Career, Penny Marshall Is Educating Businesses about the Benefits of Civil Engineering. Jez Davison Met Her

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Civil Engineering Is All around Us: Bridges, Cars and Buildings' Three Decades after Ditching Her Fledgling Teaching Career, Penny Marshall Is Educating Businesses about the Benefits of Civil Engineering. Jez Davison Met Her

Article excerpt

"LOOK around you," says Penny Marshall with obvious excitement. "Everything you see is civil engineering - this building, that bridge over there, that car.

"When you talk about the built environment, it's everywhere. It has the ability to aect people's lives and change their behaviour. I love the idea that you can start with a thought on a piece of paper and [euro]nish up with a fantastic creation that can make a dierence to people's lives."

" Her sentiment is easy to understand. While relatively few people make it as qual[euro]ed civil engineers, everyone is shaped and inuenced by the work that they do.

Perhaps it's inevitable that Penny is keen to talk up the industry; she is, after all, the North-east director of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Her day job involves representing the interests of the 2,200 ICE members in the North-east - a third of which are on Teesside - as well as members in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Having stepped into the post last year, her aim is to grow ICE membership in these regions, inuence public infrastructure policy and promote civil engineering as a viable career option to youngsters.

Penny, who was the only female undergraduate on her civil engineering degree course, says: "Historically in this country we've never been good at telling young people how great civil engineering is. Also there's a belief that construction is a dirty trade and that people who are good at maths or physics should go and train to be a doctor."

One of the industry's greatest challenges is to change these perceptions. And it seems politicians need educating just as much as school children.

"We need investment in infrastructure because it's so important to everyday life. A good transport network makes it possible to get to work quicker. A disproportionate amount of money is spent in London and we need a redistribution of wealth throughout the regions."

She'll be hoping Chancellor George Osborne honours his pledge to build a "Northern powerhouse" by investing in infrastructure and skills - a message he reiterated last week during a visit to Stockton.

But Penny has always preferred action to words. She says: "As a teenager I used to love doing stu like canoeing and outdoor pursuits. I wasn't a dressed up, pointy shoes type of girl."

" Born and brought up in Blackpool, she gained a civil engineering degree from Newcastle University but initially struggled to get a job as economic conditions forced[euro]rms to scale back on recruitment. She trained as a maths teacher and found work in a local high school - a "hideous" experience that made her redouble eorts to carve a career in engineering.

A graduate training programme at the now disbanded Tyne and Wear County Council provided that big break and enabled her to become a fully quali[euro]ed civil engineer in the mid 1980s. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.