We’re halfway through our Year In Industry (YII) Placement Student blog takeover, having spoken to Lily, Jack, Islam, Endri and today Fred. Fred is on the same course as Endri who we heard from yesterday, studying Civil Engineering at Nottingham Trent University, and he was recently back there with Winvic at the careers fair, to tell second- and first-year students about the Winvic YII experience.
When we pinned down Fred in November to learn about his work at a Trainee Site Engineer, he’d just experienced a project handover and had moved to Panattoni Doncaster 420; in February, when that is complete, he’ll work on a third project. Read on to find out what responsibilities he’s had and how being given the responsibility of his own section of works has ‘been the best’.
What projects have you been working on?
I’ve spent the majority of my time at Gateway 14 in Stowmarket, which is a 1.17 million sq ft industrial unit which we’ve just handed over to client Jaynic for the fit out for the end user The Range. I’ve just started working at Panattoni Doncaster 420 – today in fact – which is a 417,000 sq ft industrial warehouse and this Net Zero in construction. The Doncaster project will be completed in February 2024, so I’ll be lucky enough to move to a third project before I go back to university. I’m really keen to see the different sectors across the business for example multi-room, where we build student accommodation and hotels etc. I’m also really interested in seeing the civil engineering part of the business, like large drainage and bridges being installed. I spent a few days at one of Winvic’s civils and infrastructure projects, SEGRO Logistics Park Northampton, where I helped to set out kerbs on the new bypass and near to the bridge that has been constructed over the railway line. I’ve done placements with other teams too so I could learn more than just the site engineering side. I’ve done a design week and a commercial week where I’ve shadowed the design manager and the quantity surveyor at Gateway 14 and spent a couple of days at Winvic’s head office during those weeks.
How did you come across Winvic and what made you choose us?
I knew I wanted to have a placement year and that it would be beneficial for me and my career, so I attended the careers fair at my university. I spoke with a number of different companies and out of all the companies that interviewed me, I felt Winvic was the best choice. the interview felt more like a conversation rather than an interrogation, and I felt at ease.
I’ve already been able to share some of my knowledge with students who are looking for their year-out placements because I went to this year’s career fair at Nottingham Trent University with Winvic. Some of my friends from my course are now on placements where they’re in the office all day, so it was good to tell people about how Winvic offers hands on experience.
What responsibilities have you had in the last 5 months?
I’ve been setting out kerbs, ducting, drainage, part of a retaining wall, site protection and the internal floor slab of a welfare office, and I’ve been managing QAs, which are quality assurance checks. I’ve used laser levels for some measurements but to survey the volume of a bund or level of a road then I’ve used a GPS tool. For setting out I’d use a Total Station, as that’s more accurate. I had a week or so shadowing team members and then my senior engineer, Matt Tillen, asked me to go and do some setting out on my own. I took the line and levels off a drawing, put the details on to a controller, did the setting out and he checked my work was accurate, happy to report it was!
After a while, I was given the responsibility of a whole section of work, which was a turning circle and some slabs for bike sheds that tie into the original road and into the car park area. I pinned out all the turning circle, the concrete slabs that the bike sheds sit on and the ducting and drainage up to where the car park block paving starts. I worked closely with the subcontractors and this helped me understand their work, what they need to do their work and I’ve learnt how important it is to build relationships and have open and honest conversations. For example, I had been setting some kerbs with a pin at each end and one in the middle, as that’s the way I thought was right, but the kerb layer wanted a pin every two and a half metres, so I changed the way I was doing it.
What has been your best day on site so far?
I can honestly say there isn’t one day really. I think being given that section to manage, from setting out to quality assurance, has been the best thing as I felt the team trusted me and I was an important and useful member of the team. Setting out kerbs in a straight line is one thing, but here I had to do several radiuses on the turning circle and into a straight section of road. When I saw the kerbs being laid and tied in right, I was proud it turned out well.
I never wanted to be on a placement where I would just sit around, so I’ve I liked it when I feel that I’m doing something and that my work has been making a difference. I’ve gained a good understanding of the instruments that I need to use and if I have ever been unsure of something I have always felt comfortable approaching the senior engineer or any other team member and they’d either tell me what was going on or point me in the right direction and tell me to figure it out. That may sound funny, but it worked well. There’s often more than one way of doing something, so they have helped me find the way that’s right for me.
What’s it like being part of the Winvic team?
I don’t know my new team just yet (today is my first day in Doncaster) but the people at Gateway 14 were ace. I’m from Lincoln so I’ve been living away from home in the week and at Gateway 14 I shared a house with the project manager and senior engineer. It’s been very new, but I’ve felt more grown up and confident. I got on with everyone and felt very included both in and out of work. Everyone has got lots of experience, so I’ve been able to ask anyone questions and they’ve always had time to help me out, I’m looking forward to getting my teeth in to my new project.