‘How I went from cleaner to HS2 engineer in one year’


A talented young Nigerian has rocketed from office cleaner to HS2 site engineer in just one year. 

29-year-old Osaro Okuonghae from Nigeria on HS2.
Credit: HS2
by Rory ButlerJanuary 16, 2023

29-year-old Osaro Okuonghae came to the UK two years ago to pursue a master’s in civil engineering at the University of East London. 

The cost of living in the capital combined with his studies took a toll, forcing him to split his time between Birmingham during the week and Peckham at weekends. 

To earn extra money, he took a part-time job as a cleaner at HS2’s Old Oak Common Station. 

His passion for civil engineering shone through as he quizzed the Balfour Beatty and Bachy Soletanche teams about the construction works underway.  

Noting his talent and qualification, the project manager invited Osaro to interview for a vacancy in the engineering team. 

One year on, Osaro has completed his master’s degree and is now an HS2 site engineer. 

He spent nine months working with the team at Old Oak Common and has since transferred to HS2 in the West Midlands. 

“The support I have received from the entire team is just amazing, and I’m incredibly grateful that they saw potential in me and gave me this opportunity,” said Osaro.  

“I’ve been able to put my studies into practice, and the training I’ve received means I’ve been able to get hand-on in so many different aspects of HS2’s construction, from quality assurance, piling and constructing diaphragm walls. 

“Everyone at Bachy Soletanche and Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA has helped me on this journey, and I’m so proud to be playing a part in building HS2 in London and the West Midlands.” 

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