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Mrs Sue Threader

Chief Executive of the Rochester Bridge Trust and alumna

Sue graduated from the University in 1988 with a BEng(Hons) in Civil & Structural Engineering. Her passion for engineering is evident through her work with children by making engineering interesting and accessible. Sue was recently named a fellow of ICE.

I grew up in North Kent where my father was a police officer and my mother was a housewife so I had no family background in engineering at all. At school I enjoyed physics and maths but also classics and history so I could have gone either way with my future career. But as a child I had always enjoyed taking things apart like clocks and going to look at bridges to understand how they worked so engineering was a natural choice for me.

An engineering career is all about solving problems for real people and sometimes saving lives so I would really encourage anyone who wants a job that's creative but is commercial and that has a technical challenge involved as well then I would encourage anybody to go and study civil and structural engineering

Mrs Sue Threader

Sue Threader - Chief Executive of Rochester Bridge Trust Sue Threader - Chief Executive of Rochester Bridge Trust Sue Threader - Chief Executive of Rochester Bridge Trust

What I found when I started at Sheffield is that we were encouraged to work really hard from the very beginning - that was the expectation - so we all just did but we were also encouraged to have an interest in civil engineering beyond the curriculum and to find out more for ourselves. Sheffield was a great place to be because it’s right in the heart of industrial England but also close to the peak district so we would often go out at the weekends and go to Ladybower Reservoir or the Humber Bridge and actually have a look that was really encouraged. 

My current role is Chief Executive of the Rochester Bridge Trust which is a medieval charity founded in 1399 to provide free crossings of the river medway. Today I'm responsible for three major estuary crossings but also for running the charity and looking after its extensive portfolio of property investments and financial investments as well as our grants program.

One of the most interesting parts of the job is our engineering outreach activities. We do lots of outreach work with younger children with families and with teachers helping them to understand civil engineering and bridges in particular and to really get some enthusiasm for the subject.

Civil and structural engineering is so vital to everyday life that it's a really satisfying career. If you think about your everyday life and imagine what it would be like without clean water, without sewage, without roads and bridges, without airports to transport goods and railway lines for travel you can imagine what life would be like without those things. You realise how important civil and structural engineers are.

When I finished my degree and was applying for jobs I found that employers really liked Sheffield University and it was a real passport into the best of the jobs.