For the fourth in the series of our Year in Industry (YII) insight blogs, we asked Conah to take the reins. He is studying for a construction management degree at Nottingham Trent University and is being mentored by both a Senior Engineer and a Project Manager during his placement at Winvic. Late in his A level studies, Conah realised that he was more suited to a practical environment where he could put his efforts into creating a product; with carpenters in the family he took a closer look into the construction industry and saw there was a clear path he could take towards a management role. Read his story…
“I initially intended to follow a path into history and politics but during my studies, I decided that I wanted to put my problem-solving skills to work, which is something I’ve always had a keen eye for. Another motivator which steered me towards a career within the construction industry was being able to work in a variety of locations. I think I’m a very organised person and able to lead within a team, so becoming a project manager is my future goal. However, for my placement year I opted for an on-site engineering role so that I could learn the more intricate details of the construction process, gain hands-on experience whilst also performing some office-based tasks such as our goal to improve our CSS score. I am working at the 504 room student accommodation project, Parkside, in Coventry which consists of three towers at six, 13 and 19 storeys high. During my interview, I stated that I would prefer to work on large scale multi-room development due to the challenges that an inner-city site presents, so I was incredibly pleased to find that I was to be placed here at Parkside.”
“I am also enthusiastic to gain experience in civil and infrastructure works in the future and one of my interests is alternative construction methods. From modular and panellised prefab systems to using intumescent paint on steel prepared off-site, I’m keen to understand how these methods can improve quality of work, reduce waste and shorten programmes. Also, as I find myself living more sustainably day-to-day in my personal life, I become more interested in green construction, such as using materials that are manufactured from recycled products. Winvic is committed to using innovative products and methods, and working in a sustainable way, so I hope to discuss this more with project managers and engineers during the coming months about these areas.”
“So far, the whole of the site team has provided me with a great deal of support and has been incredibly accommodating in giving their time to share their knowledge and experiences. It’s a close-knit team and everyone has a wide range of experiences, including civils, industrial and high-rise developments in the UK and abroad; it’s a pleasure to work with such a knowledgeable team, that is so motivated to complete the scheme to the highest possible standard. My two mentors, Richard Nelson (Senior Engineer) and Ben Fowler (Project Manager) both provide me with packages of work in which I am able to gain hands on experience, whether this is an office or site-based task. Richard signs off my objectives and regularly takes the time to explain the engineering-based queries I often have. Ben continues to encourage me every step of the way and has told me much about his project management experience. “
“I have been surprised at how much everyone has trusted me and the amount of responsibility I have been given at times as I expected the role would predominantly shadowing people. Winvic’s approach to the Year in Industry students stands out in this way with Simon Hunt, the Managing Director of Winvic, personally welcoming us to the company whilst continuing to regularly check in on our progress. I have been given the independence to carry out my role and tasks, and on the whole I manage my own time. For example, I’ve been setting out the offsets for the fitting of the façade, internal walls, windows and cladding. This has included providing accurate datums to the window fitters, and undertaking as-built surveys of the slab edges to check tolerances and ensure the quality of works. I’ve enjoyed taking responsibility for small work packages with the assistance of Richard, such as analysing drawings to consider buildability, understanding the dimensions and conveying findings to the on-site team.
“Paperwork is also important and I’ve learned about and managed the upkeep of records, including the site diary, service usages on site, environmental records, timesheets, fire checks and general management of trades. Since July, I’ve also been on CITB setting out and Contracts Awareness training, and spent time with senior members of staff in other departments. I have completed the HSEQ and Design team placements and will soon be spending a week with the Estimating department to gain an insight into their day to day work. Each day I am faced with new challenges and information which has been key to my development, and I think my progress over the past four months has been enormous.
“Winvic had been recommended by Nottingham Trent University alumni and then I met Rebecca Schwarz with some of last year’s YII cohort at the placement fair – they could not recommend Winvic highly enough. I applied after reading more about the business and its projects, mainly because I wanted to be a part of a company with values I believe are very similar to my own. I’ve found everything the Winvic Way says to be true and the past four months has consolidated my wish to work in the construction industry, and develop myself over the coming years. I aim to finish my BSc in Construction Management at Nottingham Trent University, gain a number of years’ of experience as an engineer and to progress into management when I have furthered my confidence and knowledge. It would be fantastic to be able to return to Winvic to progress as this opportunity the company has given me is providing me with the fuel to continue working hard and motivation to meet my goal.”
Conah Langham, Trainee Engineer
Please get in touch with Rebecca Schwarz on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on our year in industry placements.