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Civil Engineering BSc(Hons): Placement case study

Kurtis Napp, infrastructure and sustainability intern, Transport for London

    Kurtis Napp
  • Name: Kurtis Napp
  • Placement role: Infrastructure and sustainability intern
  • Placement company: Transport for London
  • Year: 2014/15

Why did you decide to do an industrial placement as part of your degree?

Placement helps you to gain experience in your degree discipline is a good way to gauge how much you enjoy practising the work that you study, it also allows you to find useful contacts in your field of study and more importantly outside as well.

What does your placement role involve?

The department I am in monitors the energy usage of the head office buildings according to the DEFRA principle utilities of CO2 (electricity and gas) usage, water consumption and recycling. I help to provide the reports and updates that inform the company of its performance, any suggestions I have can be put forward in my team meetings to the head of Infrastructure and Sustainability.

How is your typical day – any specific projects were you involved with?

My typical day involves checking emails in the morning, then acting on them in terms of priority, any projects I am involved in (usually head office building maintenance projects) writing the risk assessments and method t=statements for any new projects.

I also check the statistical performance of the maintenance contractors concerning their planned preventative measures which has service level agreements that are specified within their contract with TfL.

What key elements of your job will involve what you had learned from your course?

Being able to compare a measured energy variable to its accepted baseline performance then changing the parameters that affect this energy variable to receive an improved (sustainable) state.

Additional to this the sustainability approach put forward by BREEAM in the ISO: 50001 which promotes the use of energy management systems for the design and maintenance of buildings is a vital part of designing and should be used in from the feasibility stage of material selection to the final handover stage.

From your experience working at your placement employer is there anything that you will utilise when you go back to your study (if this is applicable)?

The emailing structure and meeting presentations are an important part of communicating in the corporate world, therefore I will definitely be using these skills post-industrial placement.

How do you feel that your placement has benefited your course?

I feel that I have gained a better understanding of material selection and focusing on using best practice as a bare minimum to improve on the design of buildings.

Are there any other benefits of doing a placement?

Knowing how to operate within a workplace is the first step into understanding how the world works. I have received training on all sorts of comprehensive courses that improve the nature of one's professional skills; nevertheless being in a team relies purely on your ability to get along with people and to be able to communicate accurately while leaving scope for suggestions and feedback.

What job will you be seeking when you graduate?

I would like to work as a civil engineer for a company like Transport for London as they have many training opportunities for graduate engineers as well as opportunities to develop different but much needed people skills.

What advice would you give to the students who are thinking of applying for placement?

If you want to learn how to operate in your field of work and attempt to further your ability to communicate with others of a different academic background, then a placement is a brilliant way to learn this.

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