Obed - Building Future Spaces

Obed Appiah

Graduate Public Health Engineer at HDR

BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering

Obed grew up admiring the modern, functional buildings in his home city of London and dreamt of contributing to the building of future spaces. Thanks to the on-site experience and knowledge he gained at BCU, he was offered three engineering jobs before graduating. He’s now an essential part of a global engineering firm that’s known for its smart infrastructure.

“I grew up in London, surrounded by tall, impressive buildings and varied architecture. I’ve always been fascinated by buildings and construction and loved living in an urban environment.

I always knew I was going to study engineering; The only question was where? I’d never been outside of London before university and although it felt like a big step moving to a new city, I knew it was the right choice to challenge myself and step into a new environment that would help me achieve my goals. I still wanted the bustling, urban environment I was used to in London, so Birmingham fit the bill.

Another important factor for me when choosing a university was diversity. The variety of study options at BCU and careers in Birmingham attract people from all over the world. That diverse environment was something I wanted to be a part of.

I met a lot of people at BCU with similar backgrounds to me. I started the Ghanaian Society in my first year. The experience of starting and running a society taught me invaluable leadership and teamwork skills, plus I made long-lasting friendships.

The best thing about BCU is being surrounded by fascinating construction projects and buildings. During my studies, BCU was converting a former Victorian bicycle factory into STEAMhouse, a modern co-working and learning environment. As students, we were permitted on-site to see the transformation of the unique space. I learnt a lot from the engineers onsite and it helped me visualise my career in the industry.

The on-site experience paired with the facilities at BCU prepared me for my career. BCU is equipped with industry-standard software applications such as CAD, Revit, and various Microsoft packages. The technological skills I learnt at university are still useful in my job now.

During my final year of university, I applied to three graduate roles, and I was offered a place at all three. There’s no doubt in my mind that the on-site and practical experience I gained at BCU was a huge part of my success.

I chose the position of Public Health Engineer at HDR, as it’s a global company that’s known for its high-performance buildings and smart infrastructure. Working at HDR has been the perfect start to my career. Public Health Engineering is an important part of any construction project, I am responsible for designing commercial and domestic water services, sanitary and rainwater drainage, fire suppression and gas. It’s taught me that there are so many niche areas of engineering and that each one of them is vital to the project’s success.

My dream has always been to design the high-performing buildings I admired as a child. I’m only at the start of my career but I’m already living that dream. I can’t wait to work on more large-scale projects and one day walk around the city of Birmingham admiring the buildings I played a part in.”