James Morton

MEng Civil Engineering, 2021
Graduate Structural Engineer, Ramboll

Everyday at Ramboll is completely different! Currently I spend my time looking at the structures of building and how we can design these systems. While I also spend a lot of my time looking at sustainability, mainly related to Circular Economy.

What is the best thing about what you are doing now?

The best thing that I am working on is the development of Circular Economy, with the support of Ramboll. My team has allowed me to follow my passion and support this journey. While the company has also allowed me to experience and get involved with things that typically a graduate would not do, such as client facing work, working directly with senior directors and spending time working on external projects. 

What made you interested in your current role?

I was interested in the role after collaborating with another Univerisity graduate of Birmingham who works at Ramboll. The fact that he shared my passion of sustainability and took the time out of his day to mentor me provided proof that my morals align with the company. I also was interested in structural engineering, particularly in pushing for new and innovative projects, which I have found to be the case in the Cambridge office where I work.

How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

I have only been in this role since September 2021, so a relatively short time. Although, I have gained masses of experience already and have had the chance to get involved with a range of projects and initiatives. I have developed exponentially in this time partly down to the team I have surrounding myself and that I have put myself out there to learn and network with industry leaders. 

What motivates you?

My main motivation is to ensure that each day I affect a project, a person or myself in a positive way. That can mean contributing to a carbon reduction on a project, for example, or showing my appreciation to someone. Mainly, I hope to make the world a more positive place one step at a time.

Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?

Being a first-generation university graduate, the transition from living at home to going to university was an unknown experience. With the addition of coming from a small village in the countryside, moving to a city was extremely daunting. Although, on arrival, the University felt like its own community and provided a lot of space and greenery, something you don't usually associate with a university in a city. The course was also a pulling factor, where I found the University constantly high in the league table, as it provided in-depth and high level teaching but also provided skills and chances to improve our employability. Schemes such as the RESPECT scheme and internship support allowed me to push to develop my skills in industry while multi-disciplinary modules improved soft-skills commonly found when in industry.

 James Morton


We Are (Third Width)

Did you get involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?

I was a part of CivSoc which allowed me to attend talks and socials which have opened up my career choices through industry exposure. I also played social basketball, which allowed me to make a load of friends who I still talk today! I would say to anyone that is going to university to join a club or a sport to make these lifelong friends.

How did your time at University help you start your career?

Other than providing a great foundation of knowledge, UoB pushes its students to develop skills through industry experiences. I was lucky enough to spend 12-weeks in the summer on one of my years interning at a engineering consultancy. This was supported by my mentor at the University to ensure that I get the most out of my time. Also, the multi-disciplinary projects we completed throughout my time provided experience similar to the ones I have faced in industry so far. Typically on a project I will work with a range of professions, not just structural engineers, so having projects where I worked in teams with mechanical and electrical engineers allowed me to hone this interpersonal skills and to develop ideas with other disciplines in mind, a skill which has been fantastic to have so far.

What advice would you give to current students studying on your degree programme?

Specifically to the course I would say two things would be essential to reach your potential; reach out to individuals in the industry to form mentorships, and gain as much experience through internships as possible. The former allows for you to learn from a person who has been on your path and learn from their mistakes. While the latter will provide connections and skills associated with industry and will make you more employable and provide a head start once in a graduate role.

Any final words?

If you would like to reach out and ask me about my experience both at university or in the industry, I would be more than welcome to have a chat! You can contact me via my LinkedIn.

Some of James' favourite memories...

“There are too many memories to name one! These vary from summers spent on the vale with my friends, having nights out at the Guild, celebrating completion of modules with my peers, and spending time playing social basketball. Overall, I always tell people that university is the best time of your life and this has definitely been amplified by going to UoB.”