Placement year led to offer of a job

Aaron Jones, BSc Civil Engineering student

Aaron Jones from Penpedairheol in Caerphilly, is studying BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering. He has just completed a one-year placement with Caerphilly County Borough Council (CCBC) where he worked as a Student Civil Engineer.

As a result of his placement, Aaron has been offered a Graduate Engineer post with CCBC.

Why did you choose to do a placement?
Simply by taking a year out, I could gain a year’s worth of experience in the industry I want to join. Plus, I thought it would give me a ‘foot in the door’. I wanted to go to Caerphilly CBC because I knew it had a large engineering department so the work would be varied. My course leader emailed out the opportunity and I applied for it online. I was shortlisted, attended the interview and got the job.

What did you do on placement?
I was a Designer. Most days I would use CAD to design anything from a new car park to a new drainage system!

What kind of projects did you work on?
I worked on a variety of different schemes over the year, both on site and in the office. One of my main schemes was to supervise and design the resurfacing of over 100 individual roads at a cost of over £3 million.

What did you enjoy about it?
Every day I was guaranteed to be doing something different or working in a new area. This meant the job was always interesting and I was learning constantly. The highlight was seeing my jobs go from the planning and design stage through to being built on site in front of me. I was lucky enough to do this with at least three different construction projects involving everything from demolition of a street to dredging a canal.

What new skills and knowledge did you gain?
Because I have worked on so many different jobs, I have picked up many new skills. The main one was computer and CAD skills, learning how to design from the ground up. Knowledge of contracts and cost was something I hadn’t experienced before and this was a big part of the role - every company is looking to save money and be as efficient as they can.

How you feel returning back to University after the placement?
After taking the year out, I feel very confident going back to University and in all the things I face, such as presentations, dissertation or new work. My placement has meant I have learnt many skills that I can now use to complete my course to a high standard.

How will this placement help your career?
In engineering, experience is key so adding a year's full experience to my CV will make me stand out from other graduates. My goal is to become a fully chartered engineer. I now have the practical experience to do this, and by the time I finish University I will have the academic requirements too.