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Joseph has joined Knights Brown’s Wales Division on a Year in Industry placement. After six months on the job, here is his report on what he thinks of it so far.

My name is Joseph and I am currently studying Civil Engineering at the University of South Wales. During my second year of university, I decided I wanted to gain some experience in the field. After playing with the ideas of summer placements and year in industry opportunities, I finally decided to take a year out to undertake a placement as an engineer. After consulting with my lecturer, I began attending talks in the university. One of these was by Knights Brown where two members of the Welsh Division gave an interesting talk about the benefits of a year out placement and what Knights Brown had to offer. I was immediately interested and sent off my application for the role.

I was invited to attend a recruitment day, where I was met by around 50 other people applying for various roles and placements in the company. The recruitment day itself involved various talks about who Knights Brown are and what role they played in the market, followed by a role play scenario where teams worked together to help manage an incident that had been put together by the staff at Knights Brown. Having successfully survived this day, I was invited to a final interview and then ultimately received the call to offer me a place in the team.

I went on to have my first day on 12 June this year, where I was welcomed to the office and introduced to the Wales team present in the office at that time. Immediately I was tasked with aiding the tender team on a coastal restoration project at a local seaside town and on just my second day, I was out of the office surveying the site and recording data to provide to the tender team.

I have now been with Knights Brown for the best part of six months and have experienced a vast range of engineering and commercial activities. Knights Brown’s Wales Division is also the Energy Division. The company plays a big part in the energy sector and I have been involved with this side of the business since my first week.

In total, I have worked on four projects all over the UK, with a combined contract value in excess of £5M and I have worked with various site managers, agents, engineers and independently. All four projects have been for on demand gas power stations. Despite these jobs all being similar in nature, they have all offered very different experiences including erecting portal frame buildings, various groundworks, situating Gensets and service installations, all of which required various knowledge picked up over my two years of studying and my time at Knight Brown.

The experience I have gained as an engineer in just six months is unrivalled. I have been able to put the lectures and laboratory studies into practice on real world projects from casting concrete cubes and conducting slump tests to setting out and levelling. Although the bulk of the role is working as an engineer that is not where the job ends. Working closely with site managers and agents, I also play a crucial part in the commercial side of the job, liaising with customers and contractors, planning upcoming works, recording costs and expenditure, and generally keeping the site moving forward. This allows me to meet a range of interesting people in a variety of different fields of work often working alongside them on more than one site and broadens my knowledge on management. I have also received formal training to aid with this such as First Aid, Services Avoidance, Abrasive Wheels and Site Supervisors Safety Training (SSSTS) all of which I am able to take forward with me.

Although the work is very much important, just as important is the social side of the job. I have been lucky enough to already be involved in numerous social events with Knights Brown including the annual ICE Young Professionals Ball, several dinners and drinks with directors and upper management and the staff conference.

The staff conference itself involved an informative talk on the division’s annual performance but doubled as a team building day where the entire division met and took part in Cardiff’s ‘Escape Rooms,’ which is fitting for a construction company, putting teamwork and problem solving to the test followed by an evening meal to socialise with the team.

Knights Brown has offered me a great opportunity to develop my skills and knowledge in the industry and is continuing to do so every day. I would promote the role and company to anyone considering the construction industry. The team is growing and developing constantly, making it a great place to work now and in the future.

Read about others’ experiences of working with Knights Brown in these blog posts by one student on a summer work experience placement and one of our graduate engineers.