9th March 2023

NCW2023: From Engineering Intern to Senior Engineering Manager


Throughout National Careers Week, we are shining a light on various roles within our business and the range of routes our employees have taken to get to where they are. Meet Jono, Engineering Manager for Strata Geotechnics.

Jono decided he wanted to work in engineering as it provides meaningful solutions to problems. It’s at the leading edge of innovation and plays a significant role in shaping society and its future.

He knew he needed specific qualifications and some engineering work experience under his belt so chose to study the subject at university and applied for a placement at Van Elle. 

Since then, Jono progressed through various roles, gaining vital experience in design, estimating and data management.

His current role is Senior Engineering Manager, where he is responsible for managing our team of ground investigation engineers.

He now hopes to pass on his experience and support to help guide those who are new to the industry.

Fancy engineering your way to a successful career like Jono – read his story here.

Tell us about your career journey so far.

I started as an intern at Van Elle, where I was exposed to site work, design, estimating and data management. I consistently pushed myself to fulfil the role that the company needed, managing larger and more complex projects. As time has gone on, I have been given more responsibility and more staff to manage, giving new challenges and requiring new systems to be implemented. It has required creativity at every stage and strategic thinking often, trying to assess the need for certain additions of software, staff and equipment at key points.

Tell us about your current job role/duties.

My day-to-day is managing a team of site and office-based engineers working nationally, each producing data and reports which need to go to the client in a timely manner. My role is to ensure that this happens and appropriate resource is allocated to each project, touching base with each project team to check progress and client expectations.

What does an average week look like for you?

Most of my week is taken up by looking ahead to future jobs. I’ll make sure we have the people and equipment to carry out each project. I also check reports and data coming from the sites and engineers to ensure quality before issuing them to the client. Each month I invoice the engineering works carried out the month prior. I also keep an eye on staffing levels and recruit as needed over the year.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

It is varied and we strive for improvement at every stage. The team is great to work with and we all have that shared vision.

What education or training do you need for your role?

A degree in civil engineering or geology/geosciences is most appropriate. I have extensively used my geotechnics and project management modules from university. That said there are ways into this type of role through a technician or apprentice route and formal training later down the line.

Why did you choose a career in construction?

I chose a career in construction as it has a lasting legacy on the people and environment it surrounds, hopefully, a positive one.

What are your career aspirations?

My aspiration for the team is to create more competent, self-sufficient geotechnical engineers. Who can communicate the risk arising from geotechnical issues to the client. For my career, it is to continue creating and expanding a high-functioning team. Gradually working up the career tree as time goes on.

What advice would you give to somebody looking to get into the role?

Keeping an open mind early on is key, see the learning experience in every opportunity, even the most mundane. Getting exposed to lots of different work areas is really helpful as a junior engineer like design, estimating, invoicing, site work and data delivery. Always look to help your colleagues and find more efficient ways of working without cutting corners.

Visit our careers page for more information on Van Elle opportunities. Or for more information on career guidance visit National Careers Week.

  • Engineering