I am a 3rd year Civil Engineering student from Dumbarton, studying at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. For 10 weeks after finishing my exams in May, I undertook a work placement with Alan White Design to gain experience with a Civil Engineering consultancy.
When I got in contact with AWD, I was excited to start with them. This was an excellent oppurtunity to experience what working in a civil engineering consultancy would be like. At university, you get a broad teaching of the fundamentals to prepare you for the exams but very little in the way of the job in hand.
When I left school, I raced full time as a road cyclist, riding for Scotland many times and being based in Spain for a race season in 2013. In 2014, I moved on from racing competitively and joined the Engineering Academy. This is a University programme to develop new engineers and give them opportunities of industry experience while studying. I completed my first year at college then entered 2nd year at Strathclyde on the BEng course in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Last summer, they helped me to obtain a work placement with the contractor Balfour Beatty on a student accommodation construction site. It was the Engineering Academy who helped me get in contact with AWD.
Working with a smaller but well respected consultancy company really appealed to me. The team specialises in the structural side of Civil Engineering which I want to get into and improve on. Due to the smaller size, I got to speak to and get advice from everyone including the managing director, Malachy, which was really beneficial.
During my time at the company, I worked on design check calculations for various clients and their projects. From access platforms, retaining walls, scaffolding structures to mast climbers and stage arches. I really enjoyed the variety of work that they do. I was always kept busy and challenged every day of the placement. The days flew in!
Whenever I had a problem, or was unsure of how to proceed, help and guidance was always on hand. The whole team were always willing to stop their own work to come over and help me out which I really appreciated.
I feel that the variety of the work they gave me will help in my future studies in 4th and 5th year. I learned lots of new things over the ten weeks which I haven’t come across in university yet such as using the wind action Eurocodes.
I was nervous when I initially started due to my lack of experience but my nerves disappeared quickly as everyone was really welcoming. One of the biggest positives I found in the office, everyone knuckles down and works hard at what they are doing but they also have a laugh while doing it. I think this is a great environment to work in.
In addition to the day to day work in the office, we competed in a five-aside football tournament with other businesses and Malachy took us on a two-day trip to the Isle of Arran where we climbed Goat Fell and then had a nice dinner, drinks and a laugh in the hotel.
I want to thank Malachy and everyone at AWD for giving me the opportunity to work for them over the summer. It has been an invaluable experience and given the opportunity, I would definitely return to work with them. It has reaffirmed my desire to work in this area of Civil Engineering after graduating. I wish the team and the company all the best in the future.