Student profile

Ben T.

"A placement year offers an incredible opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and connect with experienced professionals in the industry."

Placement company

BAM Nuttall

Describe your placement experience

As part of the Surrey/ICE Scholarship Scheme, I matched with civil engineering contractor BAM Nuttall, who provided me with both financial sponsorship and placement opportunities whilst studying.

On completion of the 2nd Year, I began a 13-month industrial placement in June 2022. I was employed as a trainee site engineer working on a challenging station redevelopment scheme at London Victoria, which was then the UK’s 2nd busiest train station by passenger numbers.

The station has historically suffered from pedestrian congestion. Therefore, this project will provide a comprehensive station-wide upgrade through the addition of new ticket barriers and removal of retail space.



I was involved with multiple work packages, whereby I was responsible for surveying, levelling, quality control, managing subcontractors on-site, and progress reporting. I also took part in planning and executing several weekend possessions (whereby the railway is momentarily shut) to complete critical works. For instance, I worked on a 100-hour possession over the Easter holidays.

As part of my development, I was awarded the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences Professional Training Award for 2024! This was a fantastic way to end the year.


What were the best things about it?

I enjoyed the logistics of working inside one of London's major terminating stations. Assisting passengers every day, and liaising with the station management team, train operating companies, retail outlets and other works contractors was challenging but very much rewarding.

I also got to work with brilliant people every day from BAM Nuttall, Network Rail, as well as our sub-contractors. On completing my Professional Training Year, we were even able to organise a team-building workshop at the university.

Have your career plans been informed by your placement?

From my Professional Training Placement, I was able to successfully apply and receive Engineering Technician accreditation with the Institute of Civil Engineers. This is something I will continue post-graduation, with the aim of full chartership.

My Industrial Placement Year also affirmed my aspiration to become a contractor and site engineer in the rail sector. I hope to continue this journey with my Surrey/ICE sponsoring company.

What advice do you have for students considering doing a placement?

A placement year offers an incredible opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and connect with experienced professionals in the industry. I highly recommend seizing every opportunity that comes your way and making an effort to meet as many people as you can!

Finally, gaining workplace experience not only places you a few steps ahead in your career, but boosts your understanding of topics studied at university.