Career Advice Archive

Ove Arup trainee builds future

Alice Luk Ping-wai has always been keen on maths and science, interests which have inspired her to follow a career in civil engineering. “When I was young, I was fond of maths and applying scientific knowledge in everyday life. I was fascinated by how civil engineers could apply theoretical knowledge and technologies practically to real life to build various kinds of structures and contribute to society. This prompted me to study civil engineering at university and join the engineering industry thereafter,” she says.

On graduating from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology with a bachelor’s degree in civil and structural engineering, Luk joined Ove Arup and Partners Hong Kong as a graduate in the civil engineering discipline under the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers’ Scheme “A” training.

“Under the [scheme], I have participated in different large-scale projects over the past three years and gained hands-on design experience in the design office. At the moment, I am working on a construction site to acquire more know-how, so that I can be better equipped to become a professional civil engineer,” she says.

In the design office, Luk was involved in various local and overseas bridge projects. These included the Cross Bay Link in Tseung Kwan O and the Temburong Link bridge in Brunei, one of the country’s largest ever infrastructure projects. “I was responsible for bridge alignment and studying design options, as well as structural design for the bridge and analysis,” she says.

Recently Luk was assigned to work on the Anderson Road Project, a major housing and community facilities development in Kwun Tong. As a newcomer to construction sites, Luk considers the experience of supervising the actual construction of highway structures to be unforgettable. “I was responsible for construction supervision of infrastructure such as vehicular bridges, footbridges and pedestrian subways which connect the future development to the surrounding community. After rounds of inspection and co-ordination of construction works, when I finally saw the design turned into a life-size end product, the pleasure in such an achievement was indescribable,” she says.

Luk considers civil engineering a challenging industry, saying she has to take into account technical, environmental, aesthetic, social, economic and financial factors in order to strive for a sustainable design and work to a tight schedule. Despite the challenges she faces every day, she finds great satisfaction in overcoming hurdles and completing tasks. “When the bridges finally open, imagine the immense benefits they will bring to society, such as the economic boost and the enhancement of the transport system,” she says. “Such fulfilment in contributing to the public good, and thus shaping a better world, is what motivates me to work in this industry.”