- Course: MSc (Eng) Transport Planning and Engineering
- Year of graduation: 2014
- Nationality: Ugandan
- Job title: Deputy Laboratory Manager (GETLAB) and Part-time Transport Engineer (PEC)
- Company: Geotechnical Engineering and Technology Laboratory (GETLAB) LTD, Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC) LTD
I am currently the Deputy Laboratory Manager at Geotechnical Engineering and Technology Laboratory (GETLAB) based in Kampala. My main role is to ensure quality control of the various civil engineering material tests conducted at the laboratory and in the field. I head a team of civil engineers and technicians and I am in charge of training and evaluating them to ensure that they comply with the various quality requirements during their work. I also work at Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC) on a part time basis as Transport Engineer. This is the company that I used to work for before joining ITS. PEC owns GETLAB and it is PEC that posted me to GETLAB to help run the new laboratory. I am usually called upon to work whenever PEC has transport related assignments. I have particularly been involved in traffic studies and transport modelling on two highway feasibility study projects.
I have worked in the highways consultancy sector for about three years, design, construction supervision and quality control roles. However, I did not have much exposure to traffic engineering, transport and econometric modelling. In general, the Master's program at ITS has helped me develop my quantitative analysis skills which has improved my work efficiency. Most importantly, however, it has helped deepen my understanding of transport planning and policy. The consultancy firm I work for usually gets assignments to prepare urban transport master plans and I have already begun making valuable contributions in this area seeing that I am increasingly being entrusted with bigger responsibilities.
During my secondary school days in Uganda, I used to be a great fan of Leeds United FC and I think I was the only one in my school. I used my little savings to buy a strongbow jersey which I used to put on during those thrilling champions league matches though of course, some used to be heartbreaking. So I liked the city of Leeds even before coming to ITS and I was lucky to visit the Leeds United stadium at Elland Road. Most importantly though, during my undergraduate studies at Makerere University, our lecturers had admiration of the UK education system and the University of Leeds came up during most of our discussions. After my undergraduate studies in 2011, I had the opportunity to join Scott Wilson (Uganda office) as a graduate trainee and worked with a team of both local and international transport experts from the UK. Most of these had studied at ITS and that was the first time I was hearing about ITS even when I already knew the University of Leeds. I, later on, realized that ITS was one of the best transport schools in Europe. I was immediately taken up so I had look at the content of the courses offered and was immediately interested in MSc (Eng) Transport Planning and Engineering since it was in line with my career aspirations and the subjects taught were very relevant to both the Ugandan and international job market. I concluded that ITS was the right place to pursue my postgraduate studies. In order to achieve my dream, I had to apply for a commonwealth shared scholarship and it was not very difficult to convince the University of Leeds Scholarships Office and The Commonwealth Scholarships Commission that the course I was interested in was very relevant to the development of developing countries and I am very grateful that I was given the scholarship.
My advice to students interested in this course is that get ready to be involved if you want to get the most out of this course. There is a lot to learn within just one year and you have to be actively involved to acquire all this knowledge. Without a doubt, the lecturers are experts in their respective field. They are deeply involved in research and have the latest knowledge about transport. Besides the lectures, ITS organises weekly seminars with experts from the transport industry and you will get a lot of expert knowledge from them as well. However, the course is quite intensive with serious coursework deadlines. Also try as much as possible to get involved in the ITS organized field trips to gain an in-depth understanding of the transport systems in the UK and Europe.
**Andrew was also a winner of the CH2M Hill Prize for MSc (Eng) Transport Planning and Engineering (2013 - 2014), Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds.