ENGINEERING A BETTER FUTURE
AYO Sokale knew from a young age that she wanted to help save the world.
Now aged 26, Ayo, from Reading, Berks, works for the Environment Agency as a civil engineer project manager – making sure the nation’s water is safe and plentiful.
How do you go about such a critical job?
At the moment I am a bit of a fish saviour in Oxford and an eel saviour in Maidenhead, keeping these unattractive but crucial creatures safe in a weir that hasn’t been working.
I’ve also spent time on TEAM 2100, our 10-year programme to refurbish and replace tidal flood defences in London and the Thames estuary.
Some days I’m in the office, writing an appraisal paper, procurement strategy or doing detailed designs. The next, I could be on site, speaking with contractors and planning how to actually build what I have designed.
It can be either hard hat and high viz or business suit.
When did your green engineering passion start?
On a trip to Nigeria as a little girl I saw first-hand how engineering has an astonishing impact on people’s lives.
From that moment on, I was determined to be an engineer so that I could shape the world around me.
Are you a tad obsessed with it?
Yes. So far, I’ve backpacked through India, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and visited many more countries, which fuels my passion for what I am doing.
I hope to see as much of the world as possible and learn about all the different cultures and what is needed where.
Is the job all you hoped it would be?
The joy of seeing a project I have helped design actually being built is unmatched.
Why should people become civil engineers?
I think a career in civil engineering has something for most people. The industry creates solutions to problems facing humanity, so it needs a diverse range of people with different ways of thinking and experiences to help come up with these answers.
There are lots of different roles – connecting communities through bridges, designing and building highways, providing clean water or developing the comfortable buildings we inhabit.
How did you make your career dream come true?
I was so lucky having some really inspirational teachers who helped set me on my way, and I got stuck into my school’s design and technology club.
I got a civil engineering degree at Plymouth and lucked out when, as president of the Civil Engineering Society, I met two Environment Agency graduates who talked to me about a career there.
I later successfully applied for a graduate role and have been here ever since.
Today, I get into as many schools as possible to talk about the opportunities out there.
If I can inspire just one more engineer, then I have achieved something great.
FIND A GREEN JOB
We have found 12,278 green jobs. At fish4jobs.co.uk, there are 1,007, including a mechanical engineer for a firm in Grangemouth that has a plastic recovery facility (competitive salary) and an environmental officer in Charnwood (£29,636-£31,371).
Key employers in the green sector are the water, gas, power and nuclear industries. Many list their vacancies at gov.uk/ jobsearch where we found 10,445 jobs, including 1,277 smart meter engineers and 4,731 energy advisers and managers.
At greenjobs.co.uk, there are 511 jobs ranging from a spill response operator in Glasgow (£18,700) to a power systems planning engineer in Surrey (negotiable).
Meanwhile, environmentjob. co.uk has 177 jobs, including a waterway operative in Manchester (£17,781), a development planning adviser in Aberystwyth (£25,076) and a community engagement officer in Bradford (£25,000).
Sustainable recruitment experts allen-york.com has 65 jobs and greenjobsonline.co.uk has 73 vacancies.