Member of the Month...Carl Skelton CEng FIHE
24 March 2020
Carl is group manager for highway maintenance services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council. He is responsible for dayto-day highway maintenance of the council’s 3,550km network, including frontline operational staff, area engineering teams and environmental highway enforcement
What inspired you to become an engineer?
Probably my dad, who is a retired mechanic. He certainly influenced me in terms of being technically minded with an interest in finding out how things work, how things can be fixed and how things can be made better. I have also got a keen interest in all things DIY and how things are built from him, which attracted me to the opportunities in civil engineering.
Can you describe a typical working day?
If only! It’s a very varied role. In among the usual emails, meetings and responsibility for around 130 staff, I can be working on maintenance or income budgets, looking at a new maintenance process or piece of plant that could save us money, planning future funding bids, or our response to flooding, all in the same day.
Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
There are many challenges associated with managing the maintenance of a large rural network. Having said that, I face the same challenges as most managers in similar roles across the country. I do often find it fascinating that we are all essentially trying to achieve the same thing across the UK’s 240,000 miles of local highway network, but all within different staffing structures, political
structures, funding and contract arrangements. Essentially we are trying to keep an ageing network safe and serviceable for highways users, with limited resources and increasing use and expectations.
Tell us about some of your career highlights
During recent years I’ve been involved in planning and managing highway operations and traffic aspects of large scale public events, including the UCI World Cycling Championships held in Yorkshire last year, the BBC Radio One Big Weekend in 2017 and the Tour de Yorkshire Cycle Race each year since 2015. Being part of creating successful events for fans and experiencing their enjoyment is really rewarding, as is the huge feeling of relief once a successful event is over.
Why did you join the IHE?
I joined what was called SCET (Society of Civil Engineering Technicans) many, many years ago. Then I joined the IHIE (as it was known) as a student and progressed to member level. I joined the IHE because I felt it represented the highway engineering genre of civil engineering best. I think being part of an organisation sharing relevant information across the sector is important. I’ve been lucky enough to work with a number of professionally registered engineers in the early part of my career who certainly influenced my progress and passed on their knowledge. This recognition in
our relatively specialist area was important to me.
Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
Try to set a goal date and go for it. We all have other pressures in life but you do need to set aside some time. Also, try to find someone who achieved registration already as they can share their experience and tips as well as check your submission, presentation etc. Guidance is always available from the IHE too.
Do you participate in any other career-related activities?
I’m a council member of the IHE and lead on the professional development portfolio. I chair the Northern Direct Managers Group and also sit on the ADEPT Engineering Board, I’m also involved in a local charity as a trustee. I mentor staff within my organisation looking to gain professional registration and have also begun to review chartered engineer applicants in my field on behalf of the IHE.