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Meet the Engineers: Matthew Kirkham

Matthew Kirkham

Why did you choose Building services engineering?
I've had a general interest in engineering and technology for as long as I can remember and my late father was an engineer, so a career in engineering seemed a natural step to take. I did my research and concluded that building services engineering would provide me with the challenges and job satisfaction I was looking for in a long-term career.
What were your favourite subjects at school?
In no particular order: Design & Technology, Electronics, Art & Design, Physics and Geography. Surprisingly, I didn't really enjoy mathematics!
What was your route into Building services?
After completing A-levels at High School, I didn't relish the idea of studying full-time for a further 3 years! So I weighed up my options and decided that the best route for me was to undertake a traineeship with an engineering consultancy. The traineeship enabled me to study on a part-time basis at a local technical college, accumulate valuable work experience and, of course, get paid for doing it! I did eventually go to university full-time after completing my HNC.
What do you enjoy most about your current job or studies?
I enjoy the day-to-day challenges of solving technical problems and the variety of project work the job provides. One day you could be undertaking a site condition survey at a local primary school, the next you could be an integral part of a multi-disciplinary team designing the M&E services for a large airport in the Far East! My career also provides the opportunity to learn and develop additional skills in project management and the technicalities associated with the financial control of budgets on M&E projects. Importantly, my job enables me to have a positive and direct impact on reducing carbon emissions through the specification of low energy solutions in my designs.

What are your future plans and aspirations?
My plans are to complete my distance learning MSc in Building Services Engineering Management at Heriot Watt University. Fingers crossed I'll complete it this year! On completion of my studies, I intend to apply for Chartered Engineer status via CIBSE. At some point in the future, I would like to work overseas for my current employer and take on further project management responsibilities.
Why do you think it is important to belong to CIBSE?
Firstly, being a member of CIBSE ensures you're recognised as a professional in the field of Building Services Engineering. This will make you more 'sellable' to potential clients and perhaps give you the edge over your competitors. Secondly, membership of CIBSE also means that you're committed to achieving excellence in your specialisation and that you have a commitment to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Commitment to CPD ensures that you are always up to pace with the latest developments and technologies in the built environment.