Managing Engineering


Karim Khalil

Karim Khalil

Do I have more insight now? A hundred percent. I am now more organised and know who to reach. If there is a problem or I need to communicate with someone, I know exactly who that is or which department I need to contact.

Verified by an engineer

Karim Khalil is Egyptian and was raised in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Sheffield and stayed on to gain his Masters. He joined Transport for London’s graduate programme, working on the Underground rail network. He was attached to track engineering where he completed site surveys, track assessments and assisted project engineers producing reports for key stakeholders. He has recently been assigned to the role of Fleet Engineer on the Metropolitan Line.

“I plan to stay in rail,” says Karim. 22. “There’s a lot of branching out you can do in this industry into different roles. I find it really interesting working in rail and it has a lot to offer someone my age. There’s great potential for progression here.”


Why the Managing Engineering Projects course?

“This course was recommended to me by our TfL Development team. TfL has a really good relationship with the IMechE – we are constantly encouraged to engage with the resources the IMechE offers, such as webinars. It’s the first place we go to when we are looking for courses. I think it’s very important for my professional development that I learn as much as I can. At this point in my career, I’m keen to take all training that I can.”

“When I was working with the track projects team, I was confused about the different roles of the different stakeholders and didn’t really grasp the lifecycle of a project. I really wanted to understand with that. I often wondered why things that seemed obvious to me didn’t get done. I knew there would be a reason but I couldn’t work out what that reason was. I enrolled on the course hoping I’d find those answers.”

What was your experience of the course?

“The two-day course was held at one of our offices –– all the attendees were mechanical engineers at TfL. There were about ten of us. It was very well organised so that it seemed informal but at the same time it was very detailed. One of the things we were encouraged to think about was, ‘What do you want to gain out of this course?’ That is so important and helps you focus. The trainer explained what we were going to do, how he would slowly build the content of the course, when we would have breaks and so on. It really activated the brain.

“The trainer would take us through a section of material and then we would work through a big, collaborative activity based on that learning. That was my favourite part and what I found most useful because I learn better when things are hands-on. Activities where you are collaborating with others gets your mind going and, really, that’s what engineering is – collaborating with other people.

“As the course went on, we broke into smaller groups to work on specific areas – cost breakdown, work breakdown, ROI, MoSCoW analysis and more. It was really interesting. Everyone was very engaged and asking questions. The trainer would ask us to refer it back to our roles and check how it fitted with what we wanted to achieve.

“The last two hours of the course were dedicated to questions to ensure we understood everything that had been covered, as well as making sure it had met our requirements. Even after the course, the trainer sent out additional material that wasn’t meant to be covered, such as earned value and the BOSCARD planning tool, that he thought we might find useful. The course was very insightful."

What are the key reasons someone should attend Managing Engineering Projects course?

1 “You’ll discover the benefits of effective planning, especially how it affects time to market. Effective planning applies to any project, even starting a business. It’s an approach that gives a lot of advantages.”

2 “I found the course really helpful for understanding the different roles in a project – the sponsor, the project manager, the engineers focusing on technical tasks and so on. Even if you are involved in just technical tasks, you should be aware of the different stakeholders involved.”

3 “How do you measure the success of a project? This is very important and it was really useful to be taught about tools such as Earned Value, Cost Performance Index and Scheduled Performance Index. The trainer also gave us a couple of equations not included in the course notes that I have found very helpful.”

What’s been the impact?

“Do I have more insight now? A hundred percent. I am now more organised and know who to reach. If there is a problem or I need to communicate with someone, I know exactly who that is or which department I need to contact. TfL is a big organisation so that really helps. The company has different gates for each project, so knowing what happens at each gate has really helped me understand what we are doing on track engineering.

“I am still in the early stages of my career, but the course has made me realise that as an engineer, you do not just focus on technical tasks. You need to understand who all the key stakeholders are and how they move from planning to execution. And it also made me realise I’m very interested in joining major projects, rather than sticking with solely technical tasks.

“I now understand why things take time to get done. It all makes perfect sense now. For me, the most important part was learning about the time to market and how effective planning is very important to get results. Without effective planning, your execution will take much longer. You can also relate it to your personal life, how you should plan.”

Three pieces of advice you’d give future attendees

1 “Firstly, it seems obvious, but ask a lot of questions. If you let someone else ask the questions, you’ll hear the answers but they won’t stick in the same way as if you ask.”

2 “Be active in the group exercises and really participate in the different exercises.”

3 “Take specific notes – there’s a big course booklet with plenty of room for notes. At the end of the course, assess yourself. Did you get what you wanted from taking this course? And if not, how would you solve this or get extra information?”

What’s next?

“I would like to do the APM Project Fundamentals Qualification – it does cover some similar areas but I think it’s a more intensive course and there’s an exam at the end. It also comes with a certification which is good for me.

“I enjoy learning and I regularly look at the courses the IMechE has to offer. There are many that relate to what I do right now with TfL, so I will register my interest with our Development team.”

Managing Engineering Projects

  • Duration:
    2 days
  • Location:
  • CPD Hours:
  • UK-Spec:
    C, D, E