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The Men Behind the Bricks

Throughout history, engineers have provided some of the greatest ideas and innovations in science, technology and civil engineering. Engineering is central to sustaining economic growth in the UK and ensuring the country remains competitive in the global economy. The rapid pace of new technology is part of what makes working as an engineer so interesting and it is vital the industry continues to attract and retain fresh engineering talent.

From early inventions such as the wheel and the pulley, engineers have played a vital role in our journey to the 21st century where advanced concepts such as chemical engineering and space exploration continue to cross all boundaries.

Great Britain has always been at the forefront of technological advancement and is currently acknowledged as a world leader in several sectors. Here theAnderselite team takes a closer look at just four eminent engineers, past and present, whose innovations have changed the world for the better and helped to shape the way we live today…

Thomas Telford

Thomas Telford is widely recognised as the greatest road, canal and bridge builder of his age. Born in 1757, Telford engineered a number of road and canal projects in Shropshire and in his native Scotland. The son of a shepherd, he gained such a reputation as a designer of roads and bridges, that he was nicknamed the Colossus of Roads. To this day Telford's ground-breaking work continues to inspire engineers and includes structures such as the Menai Suspension Bridge and the awe-inspiring Pontcysylte Aqueduct. The Menai Bridge is still considered one of the best examples of iron works ever created.

George Stephenson

Born in 1781 in the north of England, George Stephenson was a civil and mechanical engineer who was renowned for his pioneering work in designing railways. Stephenson's early years, however, were spent working in the mines where he learned on the job and taught himself to read and write in his spare time. In 1814, Stephenson constructed a locomotive to haul coal and invented a safety lamp known as The Geordie for use in coal mines. In 1821, Stephenson became an engineer for the construction of the Stockton and Darlington railway which paved the way for his ground-breaking work on the world's first public railway line used for steam locomotives.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Brunel was one of the most renowned engineers of the 19th century, responsible for the design of ships, railway lines, bridges and tunnels. Born in 1806, his first notable achievement was planning the Thames Tunnel whilst working for his father, a French-born engineer. He later went on to design the Clifton Suspension Bridge across the River Avon, which was completed in 1864.

In 1833, Brunel was appointed chief engineer for the Great Western Railway and is perhaps best remembered for his network of tunnels, viaducts and bridges. Brunel was also responsible for the design of several ships, including the world's first steamship to engage in transatlantic service. He was also involved in the construction of some of Britain's major docks.

James Dyson

British inventor James Dyson rose to prominence as the designer of the world's first ever bagless vacuum cleaner. He set up his own company after major manufacturers spurned his design and his company now outsells most of the other brands.

At Dyson's research, design and development labs, James Dyson and his team of engineers and scientists continue to develop new ideas and cutting edge technologies, refining their range of vacuum cleaners, hand driers and fan heaters. The company has always been instrumental in nurturing young engineering talent and each year students from all over the world compete to win the Dyson Award for the best new engineering design.

Those of you with a keen eye will have realised that whilst each of the engineers we’ve noted had or are having hugely successful careers, each one of them fought adversity to achieve it. Whether it was a childhood spent underground, battling to become literate or fighting the powers-that-be to invest in an inspired design - they have all achieved things in spite of what life threw at them, rather than thanks to it. At CDI AndersElite, we believe this is something which should stick in the mind of job seekers today. The newspaper headlines may be made solely of doom and gloom but history tells us that when you fight hard enough, you’ll overcome the barriers.

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