Civil and environmental engineering – making a difference

David Dalgado, 23, is in the final year of a degree in civil and environmental engineering at Imperial College London. He decided to pursue a career in civil engineering to try to make a difference in developing countries.

One of the major problems facing them is sanitation and water supply problems – through civil engineering you can really help to change things in this area.

Year in Industry scheme

After finishing my A-levels, I chose to take part in the Year in Industry scheme run by the Royal Academy of Engineering. This consisted of a year working for a global, multi-disciplinary engineering firm. It was really good. I got exposure to some huge projects, as well as getting a project to call my own. It was the first time that I was ever given responsibility in a job, which made me enthusiastic about getting started with my degree.

QUEST scholarship

Straight after I took the gap year I applied for a QUEST scholarship, to help fund the degree I was starting in civil and environmental engineering at Imperial College. QUEST provided me with a grant which has allowed me to stay quite independent of companies throughout my studies. I’ve been able to move around quite a lot during my summer holidays, whereas otherwise I would have had to take a sponsorship from a company and work for that company every summer. Instead I have been able to do different things with my holidays.

Work experience

Between my second and third year I went to El Salvador to work in a rural community. In 2001, the country suffered a massive earthquake. The community I went to had lost 49 out of 50 houses and they had all been living in temporary shacks for five years. I was part of a group of engineering students from Imperial College who went out there to construct new seismically resistant, low-cost housing. We did everything from redesigns and calculations to steel fixing, so it was really practical work. When we left, there were 13 new houses. The experience was incredible. I saw how I was able to apply my civil engineering knowledge to make a difference.

The future

I will be graduating this year and have already accepted a job building huge water reservoirs. The job will be UK-based, but as none of the reservoirs are being built in the UK, I should be able to travel within the first few years.

What I like most about working in civil engineering is that you are really able to see your achievements. For example, when you design a reservoir you actually can see it being built! Also, if I am able to get water to 50 villages who otherwise would have no access to it, that is making a huge difference and all the hard work will then be worth it.

  • For more information on QUEST scholarships and the Institute of Civil Engineers, visit www.ice.org.uk
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software Developer

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Software Developer i...

AER Teachers: Graduate Primary TA - West London - Autumn

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

AER Teachers: Graduate Secondary TA - West London

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Surrey - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Croy...

SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago