Meet the Champions!

Gemma Small is a graduate civil structural engineer for smart infrastructure solutions company Costain and a RedR Champion.

RedR Champions help raise vital funds and awareness in order to provide more humanitarian support and training to those responding in times of crisis. Participants in the RedR Champions programme promote our work, facilitate fundraising and awareness-raising events and act as a key contact in their office for others to find out more about RedR. Last year our team of 234 Champions took part in a wide range of events including a trek through Jordan and the Royal Parks Half Marathon. 

What do you do in your current role?

I’ve been working for Costain for just over a year. I started out as a site engineer and now I’m in the design office working in the oil and gas sector, doing steel structure design.

It’s been really good for me to get practical experience on-site and then go into the office and do design because they’re completely different – it’s good to see both sides of the role.

My favourite part of the role is coming up with preliminary designs. I get to play around with some great software, designing 3D models.

What do you do in your current role?

Why did you choose to study engineering?

At school, I was a real geography nerd! I enjoyed learning about earthquakes and volcanoes and studying their effect on local people. As part of my research, I started reading about RedR’s humanitarian work and that’s when I first became interested in engineering and disaster relief. Originally I was thinking of studying Geography at University, but I decided to study engineering because with those skills you can actually make a real difference to people’s lives.

While I was studying at University I got involved with the Engineers without Borders society. I ran a workshop for students where we made bricks out of horse manure!  I made a compressor to create the bricks and then we baked them in the oven. We tested them against standard bricks and although they weren’t quite as strong, I think it showed that it’s possible to use alternative building materials.

Costain sponsored my engineering degree and they’ve really supported me all the way. I’ve been really lucky and have worked on some great projects; during my year out I worked on at Heathrow airport. The variety has been great.

As an engineer, why are you interested in RedR?

I think the work that RedR UK does is really worthwhile and I want more people to know about it – that’s why I’m getting involved as a champion, organising a WearRed day in my office in February and I’m hoping to join the RedR Affiliates scheme too.

I’m also hoping to take part in the next RedR Hands on Weekend. I love working on practical exercises and it’s a great opportunity to meet other people that are interested in the same kind of things.

I think as engineers we’re really good at innovating and we have extensive technical knowledge, and sometimes we don’t fully appreciate how valuable these skills are. I really want to use my knowledge and experience to help people and make a real difference.

Become a RedR Champion

Anyone can be a Champion! If you're interested in RedR and want to get involved, get in touch and sign up today!