Building Foundations with Anna Beckett

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We had a chat with our Associate Anna Beckett working in our London Office about keeping sane during lockdown, her trip to Colombia and how working in engineering has changed since the Covid breakout.

How long have you been at Webb Yates Engineers?

I’ve worked at Webb Yates for almost 10 years! The company has changed and grown a lot during that time. When I started there were only about 10 of us whereas now there’s about 40 in our London office.

What is the best thing about a career in engineering? 

Every day is different (when there isn’t a pandemic). My week is usually a mixture of meetings, site visits, calculations, sketching and answering queries, and the projects I’m working on are also quite varied. I also really enjoy working through a problem, particularly with existing buildings, and figuring out a way to make it work.

Where did you study? How does working in practice differ from your University experience?

I studied at Cardiff University and my degree was Architectural Engineering. Generally, my degree was much more technical, explaining the theory behind the principles I now use regularly. Day to day I do a lot more problem solving, trying to work out how to fit things together and make sure designs can be built. I also go to bed earlier and drink a lot less Jägermeister…

Which Webb Yates Engineers project that you’ve worked on are you most proud of and why?

I have two projects that are recently completed which I’m quite proud of. They are quite different, but both were very collaborative between all of the design team and I’m pleased with what everyone achieved. I’m also a little superstitious about it which is why I’m not saying which projects they are!

Where is your favourite country you have visited and why?

Up until recently (obviously) I spent a lot of time travelling and it’s something I really enjoy. A couple of years ago I travelled around Colombia which was amazing. The country is beautiful and everywhere we went the people were really friendly and keen to find out what we thought of their country. They also have a scheme in Bogota where most of the main roads are closed to cars on Sundays and everyone cycles, which I loved!

What did you do to stay sane during lockdown?

At the start of lockdown, when we were meant to stay close to home, I did a lot of running. I am not a particularly good runner, but I explored a lot of Hampstead Heath and eventually had to treat myself to a new pair of running shoes in May. As the restrictions eased, I was desperate to go for a swim (something I normally do regularly) so I cycled to Shoeburyness, near Southend, for a swim in the sea!

How are you finding working in engineering during Covid? How is working in engineering different?

I didn’t really enjoy working from home – I’m quite a sociable person and I really missed being able to bounce my ideas off other people. In some ways the pandemic has forced us to adapt and better use resources that we already had available, but a lot of the more collaborative processes are much more difficult through a screen. Nothing quite matches sitting down with a roll of tracing paper and working out how the structure and architecture fit together!