It’s an interesting question for me because I didn’t plan to become a highway engineer, it sort of happened; but, for what it’s worth, here’s how I did it because there are so many different paths you could take.
Thanks to Savage Houtkop for asking;
My journey started back in school where my favourite subjects were geography and craft, design and technology (CDT). Being the second year of GCSE, there was lots of coursework which suited my learning style of research, thinking and practical work. I did OK at GCSE overall and I had an idea that I wanted to design cars – the product design and technical drawing aspect of CDT was part of the reasoning.
I went on to A-levels to study maths and physics because that what aspiring engineers did; I also continued my love of geography to A-level. Things didn’t go well and I only passed geography and got an ‘N’ or ‘near pass’. I found the maths at A-level too abstract and I probably only did as ‘well’ as I did in physics because of the practical aspects.
I was at a crossroads. I wanted to carry on studying, but the mechanical engineering courses I was thinking about during A-levels suddenly became a remote possibility because of the maths and physics issue. Luckily, Hatfield Polytechnic came to the rescue. They were offering a higher national diploma (HND) in civil engineering studies and I had enough GCSEs and my A-level to get onto the course.
The HND was brilliant because there was so much practical application through the learning. Casting and smashing concrete cubes in the structures lab, setting out roads on the field behind the college, comparing drainage theory with reality in the hydraulics lab and so on. In short, we were directly applying the theory, undertaking research and learning ourselves, working in groups on practical problems and seeing how the built environment fitted together.