Going into this placement I had never been on a live construction site before, so I did not know what to expect. This has been an amazing first experience, the site is phenomenal in size, and it is a multi-million project filled with many workers, managers and trades with a wealth of experience. It was an honour to have some knowledge imparted on me from walks and talks and live works. The fact that I came to meet the project in its finishing stages was also a unique experience, I have seen so much progress in construction from the first week that I came. Every aspect of this placement has been amazing.
It took a while for some colleagues in the office to talk to me but that is understandable as I am quite young, and I was a new face, but when they did talk to me I felt very included. No one looked down on me for my age, they were always ready to listen to me and any ideas or reports that I had and explain things to me that I did not quite understand. I remember the first time I was referred to as a 'colleague' by another Mace employee when a trade was looking for someone to talk to, I was elated for the whole day. I am astounded by the expertise of the employees in Mace and I have been keeping a daily diary of all things new that I have learnt from them. I am so grateful for this opportunity.
From the very first day I arrived on the Mace site I was given support and Guidance. I was initially welcomed by the office manager who gave me a brief overview of the project, its different stages and where Mace were in terms of progress. My line manager also paired me with a finishing manager who I have been shadowing throughout my time on placement. She has been a great mentor who is an expert in her field and when I look at the progress made during my time on the project I can see the difference her role has on the job. I have been expected to be independent from the very first day when I was a trade manager in the apartments and I think that this balance of support and guidance and independence has helped make the job more interactive and hands on and really allowed me to get involved.
There is always something to do. If the project is not complete, then there is no reason to be stagnant. One aspect I love about this placement is that minimal time was spent in the office in comparison to other jobs, most of the time was spent on site managing trades, monitoring works and insuring the project was meeting deadlines. Although I was grateful for my sleep on the weekend, I am so happy that I spent my summer so preoccupied and that my presence on site made a difference.
From the very first day expectations of me have been high. I have been given responsibility over managing trade work, allocating work to the trades, signing daily permits of work for the trades, creating schedules of completion for the trades, providing weekly updates to the director, creating a zoned map of areas for the architects to inspect and many more. All my contributions have been utilised on the project and I have not been given any menial throw away tasks. It has been a great learning curve and I hope to utilise this expertise on my next project.
My degree is in Civil Engineering however the placement has been in Construction Management and doing this placement has seriously made me consider switching my masters to Construction Management because it has been that good. In the early stages of my placement I was given a tour by a Civil Engineer who explained to me how the shell and core of a building is constructed, how the pipework connections are made and how to tell which service is in a pipe by its colour. Many of the materials used in the project I have studied about in my degree, so it was good to see how they are used in real life. I have learnt that Civil Engineering and Construction go hand in hand when delivering a good project as you will be aware of how best to build and which materials to use and it can also aid with problem solving when problems arise.
Due to the nature of my placement role I did not spend much of the working day in the office, however it was a very comfortable experience. I was given my own desk, laptop and iPad to aid with the role and I was seated next to employees in a similar role to me ( construction management) which made daily work communication easier.
Considering the fact that I was the only placement student on the project it was pretty well organised. I always had something to do, whether a task on site or a task in the office and if there was anything that I did not understand, the people around me were always willing to help or offer advice.
Since I was on the placement scheme, the personal development schemes were not suitable for my role however during my first week I did get involved with the interactive online training that the company had to offer. I know that if I come back to work for mace again I will be able to take part in their Developing Success scheme which is suited to the role of an assistant.
Mace's future employment prospects are amazing and I look forward to continuing my career with them. They offer industrial placements and an award winning graduate scheme which aids towards a professional chartership. They also have five global hubs and encourage employees to take on international roles which I definitely look to take on in my future career.
The site was based in central London so there was adequate access to the over ground, tube and bus network which provided quick transport links to London's best nightlife locations. I personally did not partake in any London nightlife events but I imagine that they would have been the best on offer is London is a prime tourist attraction.
Mace encourages employees to get active in communities and volunteer by providing them with two 'Mace days'. These are contracted, paid working hours away from the site and office and a chance for employees to get involved and make a difference either individually or in a group. The choice of activity is at the employees discretion
Internship (1-4 Months)
Central London and City