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Sheryaar Akbar

BEng (Hons) Civil and Structural Engineering - 4 year sandwich course Placement with Network Rail, York (Aug 2015-Aug 2016)

Sheryaar Akbar

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?

My first impressions of the University were that it was very multicultural possessing diversity and variety among the students in terms of social and academic skills. This is great as it allowed me to interact with students from various backgrounds and helped me learn about the way they go about tasks and university workload as well as them learning about my ways.

One of the most talked about aspects about Bradford is the variety and quality of the food outlets and restaurants that are situated here. This is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of my time at Bradford. Always nice to grab a good munch while learning! Not only that, but the homely environment created in the student central and the classes themselves were also something I enjoyed being part of. 

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

 I have always been interested in the design, architectural and structural aspects of buildings and structures. The main reason for me to choose this particular degree is due to the creativity elements that are involved in the field. Designing something requires a creative mind and I had this from a very young age. To some, the name of the degree alone can sound very sophisticated, however, if you put enough effort into it, it is a very sought after degree with many rewards and benefits

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

Without any hesitation – keep on top of work!! This is absolutely vital, whether you like it or not, it is essential for you to keep up to date with work, if you miss a lecture, make sure you chase up the lecturer to get your notes.  The university has an excellent intranet system called Blackboard Learn, which contains all the up-to-date notes from the lectures and more; make sure you go over to check on the latest material. Falling behind can end up costing you as it becomes hard to cover material in a matter of days. The material is designed to be learned on a weekly basis not in a matter of days, therefore it’s important to understand and accept this fact.

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

The staff at Career Development Services are very good. As I am an aspiring engineer, my Careers Adviser was Roy Christian, who I would like to mention, did an absolutely excellent job in not only providing information and material to help me gain a better understanding of the world of work, but also helped me on a one-to-one basis by explaining company specific details and procedures which worked in my favour and helped me secure 2 placements in my first semester and a further 2 more in the second semester!  Having 4 secured placements to choose from is a luxury not everyone in my course had and the credit has to go to Roy for helping me get one step ahead.

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

I am now consistently looking for ways to improve my CV including getting it checked by Roy and looking at the examples she has provided. I am also now on LinkedIn, which is a website built for connecting with professionals in various industries, similar to a professional version of Facebook.

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

One of the main advice I would like to give is to make full use of the Career Development Services. Students pay a high amount of tuition fees and all of these benefits and help are provided within the fees, so not making use of it would be a very unwise thing to do!  Another good piece of advice is also to start the job hunt early; this means in September of Stage 2 you should be looking for placements. The last thing you want is to be trying to look for one while you are sitting exams.

Tell us about your current placement.

I will be involved in many of the design projects which the company is taking part in and these projects are all real and happening at the moment. Full support and guidance will be provided and I will also be using specific software such as AutoCAD and Revit. Coming up with architectural plans and creative designs are just a few of the day-to-day activities I will be expected to do, not to mention the opportunity to go on site work.

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

There are many ways in which the placement can benefit me. One of the biggest factors is that it increases my awareness in the world of work. Work is much more of a demanding environment compared to university, time keeping, work stress, organisation and communication and liaising with varied personnel are expected to be taken care of by myself.  These skills then become a part of how I work as an individual and bringing these skills from work back to University and applying them can have a major positive impact in achieving my academic potential.