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An insight into the role of our Senior CAD Technician- Sylvia Wright

Posted September 7, 2020

On a typical day, what does your job entail?

Help keep the team calm - make sure all the requests for help in my inbox are tackled – I’ll email the engineers and let them know they’re on my list – and when they can expect me to get the drawings back to them!

Clean any incoming drawings to use as background models within our drawings -  I’ll create models - set up drawings – add symbols – edit titleblocks – answer any cries for help from our lovely team of engineers – try and juggle all the requests and make sure everyone is confident that they have been added to my long and varied list– and most important of all – remember to smile

What is your favourite part of your job?

Being part of such a lovely team of people, being appreciated and taking lots of busy incoming drawings – which are seldom drawn nicely! ….and creating clear, tidy and I think beautiful drawings – to showcase all the hard work the engineers have put into their designs- and hopefully making things super clear for the people who have to dig the holes to place the lampposts in

What is the biggest challenge of your role?

We have done a lot of work recently for large highways projects using a platform called ‘Project Wise’ – lots of new things to learn – with full BIM protocols involved... but isn’t it good to be stretched 

CAD is a very specialised area of work; how did you decide that this was what you wanted to do and how did you get into this work?

I stumbled into AutoCAD drawing around 16 years ago – I was working for a small building services consultancy as an admin assistant – they thought it would be helpful if I could move a few symbols around on a drawing for them to assist the Engineer who was setting up their drawings. I went off to evening school and three months into my course the Engineer left! …and suddenly the drawings were all down to me. I had no one to help – so had no choice but to learn really fast! – and was soon training junior engineers in the joys of AutoCAD… did I say it’s good to be stretched 

You are also the company BIM expert; can you explain a bit more about what this stands for and what kind of tasks this entails?

Where do I start with explaining BIM (Building Information Modelling)?……lots to understand – lots of information to digest and remember – but actually – its rather a fabulous concept – that everyone – everywhere in the world – and across all disciplines are working to the same rules and standards – and once you understand the ‘patterns’ for the naming of layers, drawings, models and documents – and all the intricacies of attributed information within the symbols it’s much easier than if first appears ...did I say its good to be stretched 

Do you have any favourite projects that you have worked on at DfL and why did you enjoy these?

I’m not sure that I have favourites as such – the architectural lighting projects we sometimes get - make a lovely change from lampposts – tunnels are always fun  – it’s all so varied and sometimes when you have been concentrating on a large Highways project – its nice to have a small project to mix it up a bit – I love the variety …and sometimes its nice not to be stretched 

Outside of work, we know you are very green fingered and love creating your garden and we have some beautiful pieces that you have made in the office. Does this creativity help you with your work?

I love pottering in my garden and its easy for any worries to disappear along with the pruning’s and flower heads - my grandchildren keep me on my toes too – I missed them all so much during lock down. Now I’m starting to see them again and little trips out with them are such fun ...and I’m hardly stretched at all 

What advice would you give to someone looking to get into a career in CAD?

I would say it’s a great path to choose (especially in lighting) full of variety and challenges it’s not necessarily difficult – there’s just a lot to remember! (and if you can cope with being stretched) …… how lovely it is to be part of a team who light peoples way and guide them safely home – I’d choose lampposts every time 

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