Gaining an overview of the construction industry on placement
Tamas tells us about working as a Structural Engineer at Atkins for his civil engineering placement year.
I have a much better understanding of what sort of practice I would like to work in, as I've had the opportunity to try out different aspects of the construction process and reflect on what I enjoy.
I worked with my line manager to outline my placement goals from the start. We tailored my placement to make sure I got a really broad experience in both the technical and managerial aspects of engineering.
I've been involved in more than ten projects varying in scale and complexity. I've had the chance to work on large international projects like the Riyadh Metro and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's appraisals in Beirut and Jerusalem. I've also worked on local projects like the High Speed 2 enabling works at Euston Station. I've designed for different structural design codes including Eurocodes and the American codes. And I've designed for all the different materials like reinforced concrete, steel, timber.
My favourite project was a 10m high, 300m long screening fence in Poole. While it might not sound like an interesting project, I was the one responsible for the delivery. I produced calculations at a scheme design stage and then sketched up the results for use in a client meeting. It was a one-day project, but the strict deadline and the fact I held total responsibility for the delivery resulted in such a great experience.
I have learnt to produce my calculations, reports and essentially all deliverables in a neat and organised manner. I know how to better cope with deadlines and in general, I have improved my time management. My technical skills have also seen a major improvement. Through working on design projects, I have gained an ability to approach tasks in a more structured manner.
Support in finding a role
The Placements team did a really good job in helping us create competitive CVs and cover letters. They also made a great effort to gather information on all the available placements. They created platforms to help us evaluate the fields of engineering that we could seek placements in. Without the Placement team's efforts, I wouldn’t have been able to apply to this position.