Site Manager at Network Rail

Placement Year (10 Months+)
Swindon South West
Review Date
£16,000 - £17,999
Construction/Trades Financial Management Management Consultancy

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The Role



The Role

Role Description

Manage contractors and designers in minor works projects.

1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?

Overall I did enjoy the placement. The staff at the company are all extremely friendly and there was plenty of opportunity to socialise with everyone after work playing football and squash. The work was interesting and varied which made it more enjoyable. I was mainly office based managing projects, but managed to get out on site around once a fortnight, My only comment on improving the enjoyment of this placement would be to try and get out onto site more to get more 'hands on' experience.


2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?

The team that I was working in was relatively small and everyone got on with eachother very well. As a colleague, I felt that I was highly valued as we often arranged social activities. As an employee in the team I also think that I was highly valued, for the majority of the placement I did not feel like a year in industry student but more as a integrated member of the team. I was given a lot of responsibility throughout my year there and was involved in a lot of the work being undertaken by the team


3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?

I feel like the support was the perfect amount. In general, I was left unsupervised to complete my work. I had a lot of responsibility and was largely left to complete the work, however if I did need assistance my manager and colleagues were also around and welcoming to questions about my work.
The level of supervision allowed me to properly develop my skills by myself, sometimes by making mistakes and learning from them which wouldn't occur with high levels of supervision. I had regular meetings with my supervisor to discuss any questions about the projects I was managing and also to set myself objectives related to the ICE objectives giving me good guidance in how to achieve the objectives they set out.


4. How busy were you on a daily basis?

I was kept busy at my placement. The nature of the work meant that it wasn't a steady flow of work and that some days were a lot busier than others. If there was an issue with the a project or a lot of work to be done then I would stay a bit later to complete work. Similarly, some days were quieter but there was never 'nothing to do'.


5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?

I was given a really good amount of responsibility during my placement. I started the placement site managing a variety of building refurbishments which were a good way to start as the complexity of the work was very low but allowed me to develop skills in communicating with contractors and understanding the processes. After completing these I was given more responsibility in managing designs for an overbridge. Upon completing this I was given more responsibility as a examination project manager. The responsibility in this placement was increased as my skills and confidence throughout the placement increased. It was enough to constantly develop my skills and push me to work harder without being so much that it makes the work stressful and un-enjoyable.


6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

The skills that I developed were more personal skills as oppose to 'engineering' skills. The placement increased my skills in communication, presentations, project management, commercial awareness and confidence significantly. I believe a lot of these skills to be very valuable as they often aren't taught at university. The application of these skills is something that can be applied to every day life as oppose to just university.
However, the placement did struggle to expand my skills in the university theory modules such as geotechnics/structures etc whereas a design office would.


The Organisation

7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?

There was a good, professional atmosphere in the office. The team I worked with were interesting to talk to and all the engineers in other teams were always happy to help to improve my knowledge. There were normally groups talking about work in the office but it wasn't so loud that people couldn't concentrate.


8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?

The placement was well organised. I had periodic meetings to discuss how I was getting on with my placement and how it could be further improved. I was provided with sufficient information before prior to starting so that I could turn up and feel confident that I knew what to expect. I often organised site visits to more major projects by myself however more assistance with this would have been useful.


9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

In terms of investing money in me for personal development, I believe it was sufficient, I was permitted to go onto the two training courses in the year that I requested and was also permitted to hire cars and train tickets when I wanted to go on additional site visits.
In terms of investing time in me for personal development, I believe this was excellent. My colleagues and supervisor were very welcoming in answering questions. There is a system in the company that allows you to look up people in the company related to the work they do, I often emailed random people in the company asking if I could visit their construction site to develop my knowledge. Every time I did this the response was very positive, everyone was keen to assist in my development and would take the time out of their day to explain what the projects were about and what they do.


10. What were the perks on your work placement?

  • Flexi Time
  • Subsidised Canteen
  • Sports and Social Club
  • National Travel
  • Company Parties/Events
  • Staff Sales/Staff Shop
  • Working from home

11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?

Very appealing, I aspire to return to Network Rail as they are a great company to work for, the work is interesting and they treat employees well. However, I was work as a site manager and found it hard to relate to the issues that contractors and designers have due to the fact that I had little experience in their jobs. This was a bit of a problem and I do think that prior to joining Network Rail I would like to gain experience in these fields to allow me to do my job there better.



12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?

There are sports that can attended, I often played 6 a side football and squash with colleagues but believe there is also opportunity to do badminton. The location of the building is close to a gym and sports centre making the sports easily accessible. We would also socialise at the pub near by after work sometimes and there were team partys at christmas and at the end of the year. I socialised only with my colleagues as there were no other students in the building whilst I was on my placement.


13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?

Fortunately for me I was working in my home town which was very accommodating of the company. Therefore, I didn't have to pay out anything for rent or travel and so this question may not really apply fully to me. My placement was based in Swindon where house and living costs are reasonable.


14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?

Similar to the last question, as it is my home town I don't think this question is that applicable to me. However, Swindon has a nightlife, there a many bars near the work building and also in another area of Swindon. Personally though I would consider them that good and there aren't that many good clubs in Swindon. A good positive though is that Swindon is on the main train line and motorway making access to London/Bristol/Bath/Reading very accessible.


15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?

Yes, we often went to the pub after work and i played squash and football with my colleagues. Every year there is a Christmas party and sometimes the team goes out for 'team building' days.