I have enjoyed working on different projects and being exposed to different elements of flood defences. The colleagues that I have worked with have aided in making the year educational as well as enjoyable such that I can look back over the year and have seen a natural progression in my ability and the quality of work being carried out.
Colleagues were always willing to give a hand and discuss through any problems. Social events are good and a laugh at lunch time can always be expected. People were always willing to listen and were receptive to new ideas. Some colleagues were willing to request your assistance and kept you in the loop about activities.
Tracking of progress had to be done by your own initiative but any questions and queries, there was always a clear member of staff that you could talk to. Having a buddy helps in the first few weeks. Supervisors always willing to listen and mould the planning around anything you want to prioritise.
Some weeks were very busy, others not as much, however there was always something to get involved with. There was a period where it was very quiet, and we were only needed once a week on site. However there were days where you would visit multiple sites in one day. The type of work required by each site vary; some takes longer, others not so much. From independent study or discussing with other teams about what they are doing. Can easily get involved with additional works - all teams are receptive to an extra hand.
Responsibility was a natural progression. No one is thrown into the deep end, a buddy always is there to help in the first few weeks, whilst you are learning the ropes. Towards the end of the placement I am in more control of a project and able to navigate through the engineering aspects of the construction as well as discussing key issues on site. I was forecasting and planning my own time as well as giving advice to other members of the team about how I would approach it. More responsibility is given to you if you are working at your best and if there are mistakes, you are able to learn. The more transparent you are about your work, the more responsibility you are given.
A lot of soft skills development and industry knowledge of flood defences have been improved. Likewise, through passive involvement in designs it makes it easier to understand the importance of having a system in place for the flow of communication to be successful. It has helped understand how information is shared within clients and different teams and storing information in a logical convention helps in the long run. Everyone has to be on the same page! Likewise, problem solving has improved; there are always solutions but by going out and seeing a site, makes a massive difference compared to photographs only.
Relaxed, chilled. The office was generally busy carrying out work but there was always someone to talk to. At Christmas, it was very chilled to the point where games and jumper days. You can wear whatever you want (nothing offensive) and the teams praise the good work people do in the quarterly meetings.
There was a plan of the placement but it was badly executed due to the nature of the work and changes in organisation. However, I became a permanent member of the engineering team over time due to being there the longest. It has worked well as I have learned different things from different projects as well as understanding the management side of site managers. The only issue with it was that no real development plan was in place and if I wanted to do something; I have to research around it and bring it to my line manager as something I want to do. You have to be persistent.
There was little to no training given apart from when I started. A lot of it has been learned by watching others carry out the task and learning from them or looking at previous examples to understand what it is that I am required to do. Saying that, I do feel like I have developed my understanding of the works and have improved my soft skills.
Sports and Social Club
Very good starting salary with 2 bonus schemes in place. Pension is very good rate and there are many perks. If you are site based, the company car allowance is definitely worth it. The graduate scheme is worth it and one of my buddies is currently going through it, and you can see his development through time too! Whether I take the job, will be a discussion I will have towards the later stages of my placement.
There was a little bit of communication between other placement students but we are all based across the UK, so meeting up is much more difficult. Likewise, the type of work we all do is very different. There is a group chat created but everyone is busy and there have beena fgew meet ups.
Averagely priced for a city near London, but without a car it is difficult.
A lot of pubs, but was living away about 30% of the time. A few clubs but all very close together.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
10th June 2019