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Abdul Rehman, Principal Electrical Engineer

Abdul always wanted to be an engineer. Both of his parents were engineers so he was exposed to the wide variety of options available to him from a young age. He is a natural problem solver and loved being in his toy room when he was a child making his Lego Technics Models and even trying to invent his own models to give himself more of a challenge!

Age: 37

Job title: Principal Electrical Engineer

Company employed by: Systra

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Always an Engineer.

What is the biggest impact your work will or could have in the future?
The work I do involves future proof technology and solutions that will support de-carbonisation. To see positive results from the work I have been a part of.

What excites you most about STEM?
STEM gives me the opportunity to pass on my knowledge and help the next generation decide on their careers. It is also good fun to take part in several activities and re-live my childhood too. Best of all it is a great initiative to ensure we will have enough engineers from diverse backgrounds to continue the good work Engineers do.

What do you love about your job? What would you change?
I really love my job and would not really change anything about it.

What gives you the most job satisfaction?
To see a project concept, develop and become a reality on site. Using the latest technology in collaboration with suppliers and seeing innovations being accepted and implemented. Helping/mentoring other Engineers around me and seeing them succeed in their careers. Attending community days such as tree planting and STEM events. Gaining Industry recognition by winning National Awards. Taking part in corporate Cricket Matches and giving donations to charity.

What does a typical day at work involve?
After ensuring I have a good 7 hours sleep and a nice balanced breakfast at home, I check my action plan for the day. Once I reach the office, I always try to start my day with a nice hot cup of coffee and a catch up with members of my team to see if they have any personal or professional issues. We then
discuss engineering designs that need to be produced to specific deadlines.

During my day I will help or mentor the junior engineers in the team to develop them and provide them with the experience they need to support their professional development. Once the team are occupied with their tasks, I ensure I have completed all my line management duties and focus on design work or any meetings I have booked. The design work I am involved in requires me to think of innovative solutions for Electrical Power in Rail, inclusive of environmental and sustainability considerations. This would typically involve collaborating with various
suppliers or manufacturers, carrying out calculations or checking and approving designs. The designs include reports, schematics and diagrams using CAD systems to complete a design package that is sent to the client for approval to construct on site.

On some occasions I am required to visit site on the railway to carry out surveys to aid my designs.

During the middle of the day I take out at least 15 minutes to play some table tennis with colleagues for my own health and well-being.

Outside of my engineering tasks I am actively involved in voluntary roles such as IET mentoring, organising technical CPDs,
corporate cricket matches, STEM activities and being active on professional social media.

Once my working day is over, I head to the gym with colleagues and then my day is complete!

What’s the most unexpected thing about your job?
The continuous cycle of change in design scope.

Did you have any role models when you were younger? What inspired you to do the job you’re doing now?
Whilst growing up my role models and inspiration to become an Engineer were my parents. Both my parents have been Engineers all their lives and from a very young age I was fortunate to have been exposed to many technical gadgets and toys. Quite early on, my parents could see the Engineer in me. I would have a toy room where I would build many different Technics Lego Models. I would also try and invent my own models that would differ from the manuals. As a child I was one of the first children in my school to have a Desktop PC at home that I would use to create drawings or do some basic programming.

Any influential toys during childhood?
Technics Lego, Desktop PC, Electronics Kit.

You favourite subjects at school?
Mathematics, Design Technology, Computing.

Qualifications (school/college/university):
HNC in Electrical/Electronic Engineering;
HNC in Civil/Structural Engineering.

Your reason for choosing this career?
I chose this career because I always knew I wanted to be an Engineer. As I grew up, I have seen the importance of Engineering and understand that to improve the world we live in, we will always need Engineering and Engineers.

Tell me about your career path to date:
Trainee Railway Signalling Design Engineer for Atkins Rail, Civil and Structural Engineering Technician at WSP and Atkins, CAD/BIM Manager, Railway Signalling Power Engineer for Signalling Solutions, Lead Railway Signalling Power Engineer (IEng) for Alstom Transport, Principal Electrical Engineer (CEng) for Amey Consulting and Principal Electrical Engineer (CEng) for Systra.

If you could have any job what would it be? How does it differ from what you’re doing?
I love what I do, but in the future, once I am retired, to keep busy I would be happy to work on a tropical beach, managing boats and yachts, supporting beach clean ups and cleaning the ocean.

Your advice to a young person considering a career in STEM?
If you have a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths, then this world needs you. You will be the future and having Engineers who are passionate about making improvements to our world is what we need to achieve the Global Sustainable Development Goals.