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Construction Management BSc(Hons): Placement case study

Ollie Notley, construction engineer at Fluor

  • Name: Ollie Notley
  • Course: Construction Management BSc(Hons)
  • Placement role: Construction engineer
  • Placement company: Fluor
  • Year: 2014/15

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

I always wanted to undertake a placement year to provide me with a year of relevant experience to greatly enhance my chances of gaining graduate employment and improve my understaning of the industry before beginning my career. An industrial placement on your CV can really make you standout from the crowd when applying for graduate roles or even provide the opportunity to gain employment with the company offering the experience, like myself and many of my peers. For me it was a no brainer.

What was the process for getting a placement and what support did you get from the University?

I applied to my placement following a presentation from Fluor at the University and having an informal interview with their staff. I was later selected as one of the final 12 of 132 applicants to attend an assessment day. I was required to take part in two group tasks with other applicants and then present for 20 minutes to senior management on why I feel I would be suitable for the role.

The Placement Team supported me greatly throughout the process; this included arranging mock interviews and providing constructive criticism for my presentation after allowing me to practice it with them. Their vast experience proved extremely helpful and I owe them a great deal for their continued support.

What does your placement role involve?

My placement involved providing a variety of support to energy and chemical construction projects at many different phases. I spent half of my year in the Farnborough office working on design and planning and the other half on site for the construction of a biomass conversion at Drax Power Station, the largest power station in the UK.

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

My typical day involved preparing plans and attending meetings for engineering, procurement and construction, to define the construciton requirements for the project to ultimately help achieve project objectives, in which I played an active and important role.

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

The Construction Management BSc(Hons) course provided me a strong general understaning of applicable design and building processes and technologies, in addition to a strong understanding of materials used in the industry.

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)?

I have been able to gain a much-improved understanding of the industry and how it works, which will supplement my studies well. I was also able to develop an in-depth understanding of innovations used in the industry that I can carry forward into writing my dissertation having gained first-hand experience while on placement.

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

I will be able to apply my new first-hand industry experience to improve my overall degree classification and be able to apply real life experiences to enhance my work.

Knowing I have a job waiting for me will also relief the stress of searching for a job while in my final year, allowing me to fully focus on my studies.

Are there any other benefits of doing a placement?

You get a professional life experience, you learn the etiquettes of working life and you enjoy the professional life comfort. It's a good year off from university deadlines, coursework and exams and the best opportunity to explore yourself academically and professionally and think of your future with a broader prospective. It boosts your confidence level. You also make good professional contacts which are very important and if you perform well whilst on your placement and make the most out of it; you have a good chance to secure a place in the company too.

What job will you be seeking when you graduate?

I have signed an contract of employment for when I complete my degree and will begin work with Fluor in June 2015, and as I have spent a year with the company I have been offered a higher salary than that of a non-placement student would receive.

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