Liam is the seventh of our 2023/24 Year In Industry students to explain more about their 12-month on-site placement with Winvic. If you missed Lucy’s insights last week, or any of the previous five Q&As, head to the blog homepage and use the filter – you might even want to look back on blogs and videos from previous cohorts, and many of the people you’ll find are now full time Winvic employees.
Liam studies Civil Engineering at Nottingham Trent University and he’s undertaking an Operational Placement with us. Below Liam explains how he was nervous when his mentor said he was ready to work independently, but he found his confidence and hasn’t looked back.
What projects have you been working on?
I am based at Prism Park in Glasshoughton but have had the opportunity to visit lots of others. When I arrived at Prism Park the piling and foundations were complete, and the steel frame erection was just about to commence. There are two industrial warehouses being constructed which are 50,000 sq ft and 144,500 sq ft and both have additional office space. The programme has been swift, and the project was handed over after just 33 weeks.
I have visited Bessemer Park in Sheffield, which comprises four industrial units, and the single facility, Panattoni Doncaster 420. I’ve also been able to see a fit-out project at an industrial facility, -Gateway 45 Leeds. It’s been helpful and interesting to see projects at different stages and to talk to people in different site teams.
How did you come across Winvic and what made you choose us?
I saw Winvic at the careers and placement fair at Nottingham Trent University. I handed my CV in at the stand, they offered me an interview, and it seemed like the best programme where I would have the chance to work on big projects. The communication from the start was good and they replied to all of my questions. They also reassured me that I wouldn’t work too far away from home and my commute to work to Glasshoughton is around an hour. Some of my friends are on placements working away from home and I know Fred, another placement student here, has been doing, but I wasn’t quite ready for that!
What responsibilities have you had in the last 5 months?
I’ve been mainly shadowing the site engineer and working with our subcontract partners to help set out, pour and check the concrete yard slabs and the concrete plinths for the substations and transformers. I’ve also marked the transfer levels in the offices, which involves inspecting that the completed floor level is within 5mm tolerance and then marking 1 metre above. Other setting out and quality assurance tasks I’ve helped with have been on the external and internal drainage packages, a retaining wall and the main pipe that goes into the building for the sprinkler system. As-built surveys are a record of works and I’ve done these for the service trenches and manholes. I used GPS equipment to obtain points where they run and joined the dots when I transferred the location points onto a CAD drawing.
In August the site engineer told me I was ready to work more independently, and I was nervous as I didn’t want to mess anything up and cost the company time and money. Although he went on holiday I wasn’t left on my own and if I ever had any questions or needed help the site manager and other engineers were there to advise me or lend a hand. I improved and felt proud of myself, and I learned more by taking responsibility.
I’ve also been keeping a register of the materials on site and comparing them to the drawings to help calculate when we need to order more and how much. I enjoyed my commercial placement on site here with George, who started out as a Year In Industry student, as it helped me to understand how an engineer’s decisions can affect costs.
What has been your best day on site so far?
I was fortunate enough to see the installation of a stormwater drain on a 1:6 incline. It was very intense for about a week with complex logistics in a tight space, on a slope, and it was interesting to see how the health and safety and operations teams worked together to manage everything so precisely.
What’s it like being part of the Winvic team?
I’ve been made to feel welcome and at home and I’ve felt at ease since my first day. People approach me to help with jobs based on my ability, but I also use my initiative. Everyone has made me feel like I can ask any question without feeling stupid and that’s helped me learn so much.