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The University of Southampton
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David Jeens

BSc Civil Engineering 1969

David graduated from the university in 1969
David Jeens

Careers Experiences

My first graduate job was as a Site Engineer with Sir Robert McAlpine and Sons, learning the basics and prestressing nuclear reactors at Hunterston Power Station. I am currently working as a Quality Assurance Director, introducing integrated management systems throughout the company I work for.

The most satisfying role I have filled was Deputy Projects Director for the Ministry of Defence Engineering Division in Oman. I had such a lot of responsibility at a very young age and we were shaping the future accommodation standards for the Omani Military.

There have been several pivotal moments within my career. Going to Oman in 1977 broadened my outlook and changed my career path by moving me firmly into Management. Other jobs I have had have taught me indispensable skills including learning about complex high tech buildings and how to be responsible for important projects. In 1995 I was suddenly responsible for contributing to the clean up of systems in a formerly Crown immune organisation, and was therefore the furthest I have been from Civil Engineering. In 2009 I made another move, over to Quality where my practical experience was invaluable. There are places in the UK and Oman which have got my name on. This gives me a great kick and is a tangible sign that I have left a mark on the world.

If I were to advise current students and graduates, I would say to be open to new challenges and do not be afraid to try anything. Specifically, a Civil Engineering degree can take you almost anywhere if you are prepared for it. Civil Engineering is cyclical, and in times of recession it can be very hard – be careful as things are less stable than they used to be.

University Experiences

I knew before University that I had to study some sort of Engineering. It hit me with a blinding light when I was thinking about University courses that what interested me were big static things like buildings. Hence I chose Civil Engineering. My degree prepared me fairly well for life after University, but it is not until you develop into more demanding roles that you use your formal training.

I would recommend the University of Southampton to prospective students as there was a great atmosphere and fun people. Make sure that the course you choose is what you want to do, not what others tell you, and select a course with some relevance to your future career.

In terms of my future, I am due to retire in a few years time. I am currently in touch with a few of my fellow alumni and we are just beginning to reconnect having attended a 40th anniversary Civil Engineering reunion.

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