Please could you provide a brief history of your career to date?

I spent Year in Industry before university with the Engineering Development Trust before reading General Engineering at the University of Cambridge and graduating with a Meng in Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. Throughout university, I did various internships and placements building experience of development contexts.

Within six months of joining Arup, in 2014, I was an assistant site supervisor on the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme for three years. It was a great learning opportunity on a project impacting the city that I live and work in. I then worked with KDI for 6 months on my Engineers Without Borders UK placement in Nairobi. Over the last four years, I have designed Sustainable Drainage Systems, worked with the Environment Agency and worked on masterplanning projects for public sector clients.

I have volunteered with NGOs both within and outside of Arup – building relationships and working on engineering projects.  I also love engaging with students about the need for more diverse engineers!

Please could you describe how you first got involved with Engineers Without Borders UK?

In 2009 I joined the Cambridge University chapter and became the outreach coordinator. In my capacity as the Treasurer, Secretary and President of the Cambridge chapter, I’ve organised fundraising events, talks, learning sessions and socials. I also built up my Engineers Without Borders network that I value today through national events.

Upon graduating I became the Member Led Partnerships Coordinator within Engineers Without Borders UK to better manage and assess branch projects, to ensure others had a more productive and beneficial experience than my first experience. I worked closely with Engineers Without Borders UK staff and ensured students worked with reputable partners, defined their projects appropriately, reduced H&S and project risks, and had an overall positive impact. I enjoyed engaging and mentoring students through their journey. 

What made you apply for the trustee role?

Both Engineers Without Borders UK and the network of amazing people I have met over the last decade-plus of volunteering with Engineers Without Borders UK have been instrumental in shaping me into the engineer and person that I am today. Therefore I wanted to give back to the organisation.

I have some experience in advocating for organisations through my roles managing Arup’s partnerships with NGOs and I have also worked with others to build our OvaGreen network, a grassroots movement to make our firm more sustainable.

What are you most excited about in your new role as a member-elected trustee? 

I feel that I have lost touch with the wider Engineers Without Borders UK network over the last four years and would love to reconnect with the membership and help it grow. I am really excited for the next three years, for the realisation of the new strategy and the growth of the movement. I hope that my experience as a student and professional volunteer will be valuable to the trustees and staff team in this process.

What do you hope to see the organisation achieve during your time as a member-elected trustee? 

I believe that one of the best things about Engineers Without Borders UK is the people who are drawn to the organisation. Therefore I hope that over the next three years that we can grow the membership and the movement by reconnecting with past volunteers and attracting new volunteers. Ultimately if we can enable more engineers to think about their global responsibility that’d be amazing.

What is your vision for the engineering sector by 2030? 

The engineering sector is so vast and varied but I think we’re brought together by our love of solving problems and creating a better world. I hope as a profession we’re better at challenging and enabling clients to consider the outcomes of their projects instead of defaulting to constructing.  I want infrastructure to work for the communities that they serve, enhance nature and be resilient for the future.

Are you interested in becoming a trustee? Explore the current vacancies available on our board

Malithi (Milly) Hennayake, Chartered Civil Engineer