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Carving out a career at Keller

Keller is keen to encourage young people to take up a career in geotechnical engineering and offers many different routes to achieve that.

We spoke to three members of staff who started their career at Keller and are at different stages of their journey with the company.

Rhian Swan-McCay, Apprentice engineer

Rhian joined Keller’s sister company Phi Group in Leeds in October 2016. She started by doing CAD drawings but since then has been involved in designing retaining walls and estimating and managing jobs with the help of her manager Tom Rowbottom and other senior staff.

“I knew I wanted to go engineering, but wasn’t sure which type,” said Rhian. “My dad is an engineer and I’ve always liked maths and problem solving.  Then I saw the Phi apprenticeship advertised and it looked interesting.”

Rhian enrolled on a two-year day-release course at Leeds College of Building to study for a Level 3 BTEC Diploma course in Construction and the Built Environment.

She recently completed the course and now wants to go on to university and get a degree and Keller is supporting her in that.

She was the only girl on the course when she started and relishes the chance to encourage other young women to follow her into engineering.

Rhian has joined the Wise Campaign – promoting women in the STEM disciplines – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and has visited schools in Leeds to spread the message.

“It’s all about breaking down stereotypes,” she said. “More girls are getting into engineering but nobody really talks about civil engineering. I’ve been to schools to show girls that engineering is not just for men and it’s not just about building things.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Phi so far. I really like that I get to do everything and learn new things and go to meetings. It’s nice to be involved.”

Jonathan Knill, Chargehand, Phi Group

Jonathan has been working for Keller for three-and-a-half years and has recently been promoted to chargehand.

He is based with Phi Group, who specialise in retaining structures but has had spells in different Keller divisions learning about different aspects of the business and piling techniques such as CFA and mini-piling.

Jonathan was introduced to the business by his dad Jamie, who is a supervisor with Phi. He started on the Federation of Piling Specialists apprenticeship scheme and has already qualified for his Piling Rig attendant ticket.

“I have enjoyed working in all areas of the business and particularly the teamwork aspect. It’s great to get a different insight into how everyone else works and, at the same time, get the chance to see all of the UK while being paid for it.

“Eventually, I would like to be a supervisor with Phi as that’s where I have the most experience but the scope to work in other areas of the business is also attractive.”

Sara Cruz, Trainee engineer, Design

Sara has been with the company since May 2018 and currently working in the design department at Keller HQ in Coventry working on designs and calculations for CFA and DCIS projects. As her training progresses, she will also work on designs for other piling techniques.

She has a Masters degree in Geotechnical engineering after studying at university in her home town of Madrid for five years. With opportunities limited in Spain, Sara came to the UK to work for a civil engineering company.

“Then one day I was looking at the Keller UK website and decided to apply for a job because I prefer to work in geotechnical engineering,” she said.

“For me it’s a dream to be at Keller. My colleagues are very helpful and I am gaining some great experience putting all my knowledge into practice.  I am learning a lot.”