"My time with Balfour Beatty sparked my ambition to become a Chartered Engineer starting in Ground Engineering, and to pursue my plan of becoming a leader in the construction industry."
Where was your placement?
My placement was at Balfour Beatty. I spent nine months working on-site at HS2’s Old Oak Common Station Project as a Diaphragm Wall Site Engineer. This involved completing quality checks, managing concrete pours for multiple diaphragm wall panels and supervising subcontractors to ensure quality was met on site.
I wanted to try something different so for the last three months I moved to Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering’s design team, producing pile designs and assisting with work-winning documents.
What were some of your most memorable days on placement?
Working in the winter weather on-site was an unusual experience as some days it was freezing cold, raining and with mud flying everywhere! On these days, everyone would tightly huddle in the one tiny on-site cabin to stay warm and dry. These were tough days but the most memorable!
Another memorable experience, back at Surrey, was winning the FEPS Professional Training Award 2023. This award provided recognition to my experiences, and validated my effort and accomplishments. It has served as motivation for me to continue to invest effort in my future work, with the goal of garnering further recognition.
What was the biggest thing you learnt from the experience?
My placement taught me what I wanted to pursue in the future: before I had no idea of where to start. My time with Balfour Beatty sparked my ambition to become a Chartered Engineer starting in Ground Engineering, and to pursue my plan of becoming a leader in the construction industry.
Was it hard to do a 9-5 job after being a student?
Working a 9-5 was different to what I was used to, so it meant some tired and tough mornings, but after a few weeks I was used to it. The hours were longer than expected which meant little personal time, but I learned to love the set routine.
And was it hard to settle back into life as a student?
Settling back into life as a student was easy. I was much more productive, proactive and organised than in my first and second years at university. The placement gave me a clear sense of purpose and motivation.
Do you feel your studies benefited as a result?
Yes, the specific knowledge I gained – such as the design of foundations – has helped in modules, and my general knowledge of how a civil engineering project is run was massively helpful in understanding the concepts of many new topics covered in the final year of university.
Describe your placement in three words…
Active. Insightful. Rewarding.
What are you planning to do after you graduate?
I’ve secured a sponsorship from Balfour Beatty to complete a masters course while working part-time in the Ground Engineering team. This makes my plan towards Chartership a lot simpler as I’ll have gained a masters as well as valuable work experience.