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Dale Feather

BEng (Hons) Civil and Structural Engineering - 4 year sandwich course Placement with Graham Construction, Liverpool (June 2015-Aug 2016)

Dale Feather

Why did you apply to the University of Bradford?  Please include the following - your impression of the university and the city and what did you enjoy most about your time in Bradford?

Bradford was my choice of university not only due to the success and growth of its engineering department over the recent years, but already living local, I felt that studying at the university would give me the best opportunities in my academic studies and also allow me to pursue my other goals.

The university is always striving to constantly improve with excellent buildings and features all around and I am sure it will meet its targets and become one of the first 'ecoversities' in the country.  Bradford is once again rebuilding itself and I am sure, over the next few years, will become one of the biggest and major cities in England once again. From what I can see, the university is doing everything it can to not only help its students but also the city to rise to the top and become the best, which has shown evidently over the last few years. 

Why did you choose that particular course?  What did you like and enjoy most about the course?

During my A-Levels, like most people, I never knew which subject I wanted to study at university, but by looking at the skills I have and the job roles of an engineer, it was clear that this course (Civil and Structural Engineering) was the right one.

What tips would you give to prospective students (about the course at the University of Bradford and the university itself)?

Take advantage of every opportunity that is handed to you, sometimes you won’t realise how important they sometimes are, however small.  In order to gain a placement, I gained incredible amount of knowledge and advice from the Career Development Services.  If you are applying for your course, placements or graduate jobs do it early and be different!    

Likewise with revision, make sure you give yourself enough time to understand what you are learning and don’t be afraid to ask for help from anybody, you would be surprised how much people are willing to help.

What support have you received from Career Development Services / Placement Staff?

Career Development Services offered me help in building a strong CV and Cover Letter that I was proud to give out to potential employers.  I gained skills for telephone and one-to-one interview techniques that I had never had to encounter before, which, without these I feel I would not have been anywhere near prepared enough.  Through this I also gained the opportunities to attend talks from companies about placements and graduate schemes and this was the opportunity that led to my placement with GRAHAM Construction.

What action are you taking to improve your employability at University?

At university, I have started to treat my studies more professionally as if I was already in a job. Taking this attitude, being punctual and using this opportunity to gain experience within industry should put me in a good position after graduation to gain employment.

In addition, using the Careers Service to bring my CV and cover letter up to scratch is also a huge bonus to give me the edge over other competition, right from the start.  Also gaining interview skills will also help me to focus more on communicating on the most important topics rather than the interview itself.

What advice would you give your fellow students about finding placement and work experience opportunities?

Start applying early for placements (as early as possible) to give yourself the best possible opportunities. If you are successful for interviews (telephone interviews or face-to-face) make sure you are prepared, know your CV well and focus on your skills and abilities that are necessary for the job.   Utilise the Careers Service as they can help you with every step of the application process.

Also, don’t be afraid to get yourself out there and speak to employers in person at fairs and talks, as these are the best opportunities to really sell yourself and get your face recognised.

Tell us about your placement.

I am currently on placement with GRAHAM Construction where I am working on the design and build of 3 new renewable energy storage silos along with sub-stations and conveyor systems. The silos are using slip form technology and reach a height of over 50m with a 40m diameter.

This involves lots of site work and getting hands-on experience and being involved in the project. Daily jobs range from setting out, using the latest technology such as laser levels, total stations and GPS and monitoring and organising processes and events. There are always real life problems that occur that keep you on your toes which is really interesting and exciting!

How will the placement year benefit you when you return to study at the University of Bradford?

Alongside gaining the necessary experience for my CV for future, the placement year will give me the opportunity to put what I have learnt so far into practice. The skills I will learn such as the understanding of processes and how things work in the real world will also give me a better understanding of my future studies and allow me to put these into practice if necessary.

Understanding how a site works is vital for final year, and through gaining knowledge from a project of this calibre with everything happening, and understanding the process of design, planning and construction and everything in between, will give me the best opportunity to do well and improve my studies.