April Shackley MIStructE
Date published

23 January 2020

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April Shackley MIStructE

Career Profiles
Date published

23 January 2020

April Shackley MIStructE has been a structural engineer for ten years, including four years at university and six years working. She is currently a Senior Engineer at Whitby Wood, leading a small team working on several projects. She regularly volunteers to help educate young people about the amazing possibilities of engineering careers.

What inspired you to become a structural engineer?

It was actually my Mum. She studied civil engineering and was the only female on her course but gave it up after she took time out of work to have children. She suggested I try it because I liked maths and physics. During my course I realised I had a real interest in architecture and so decided to go into structures.


What are the greatest achievements of your career? 

Getting Chartered is definitely up there. Also the Scale Rule pavilion at Clerkenwell Design Week - I was a part of the design team for this amazing project, which was a proud achievement for all involved.


How would you define structural engineering? 

Structural engineering is making sure that all the structural elements are the right size so they can carry the weight of everything in the building, don't move too much in the wind and don’t collapse.

It enables the construction of all types of buildings from basic shelters that humans need, to amazing city skylines that are the pinnacle of human achievement.


Who should become a structural engineer? 

People who like solving problems, enjoy working in a team and want to do something where you can make a difference to society.


What does Chartered Membership of the Institution mean to you? 

Becoming Chartered was one of those most difficult things I've ever done and I'm really proud to have passed. It gives me confidence in myself that I am a good engineer.


How do you interact with the Institution? 

I've done a lot of work with young people to try and encourage them to think about careers in engineering, going into schools to give assemblies and run workshops and just trying to raise awareness about what our job is and how to get into it.

I often attend talks at the IStructE HQ, particularly I am interested in anything to do with how structural engineers are tackling climate change. I think these events are an opportunity for competing businesses to work together on this issue.

I read The Structural Engineer and find the articles about projects interesting.

<h4>Challenging, rewarding, inspiring</h4>

Challenging, rewarding, inspiring

ScaleRule's "Next Generation Design challenge" saw London schoolchildren design and build a pavilion for display in the 2018 London Festival of Architecture. April explains more.

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