We take on graduates, trainees, year in industry, summer placements and apprentices every year. Our Southern Division took on Jordan as a trainee engineer in the summer of 2015. This is his story after 2½ years on the job.
My name is Jordan and I have been working for Knights Brown as a trainee engineer since summer 2015.
I first heard about Knights Brown when I was studying at sixth form college. I had just completed my first year doing AS Maths and BTEC’s In Construction and Engineering. During the summer break I had decided I wanted to get started in the industry and ended up interviewing with Knights Brown for an apprentice ground-worker position.
After being interviewed by several members of the management team, I was shocked to instead be offered a position as a trainee engineer, once I had completed my final year.
Knights Brown also offered to sponsor me through further education, which resulted in me securing a place at Southampton Solent University to study a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Civil Engineering. On top of that, as I was unable to drive at the time, they also provided me with driving lessons to ensure I could get to site.
My first on-site experience was at Queen Elizabeth Country Park in 2015, where Knights Brown was constructing 2.5km of cycleway and footpath. I was paired with Dan, who was a graduate engineer and one of two engineers on the project.
Everything was completely new to me and I realised there was a lot to learn. During the project, I picked up the basics of what it meant to be an engineer and soon, setting up and operating the Total station became second nature.
As the project was stretched across a large area it became clear that one of the most important attributes of being a good engineer was time management. You needed to know what was happening today, tomorrow, next week, and ensure that you knew where you had to be with the correct information.
As the project neared completion, I had learnt a lot about my role but realised there was still a lot more to learn if I was to be the sole engineer on a project. It was at this point Alan joined the company as managing engineer with the job of overseeing all the engineers. This was perfect as it allowed me to be more independent on my next project at Pines Hotel, while still receiving support and guidance from Alan on the phone or during visits.
In my two and a half years as site engineer, I have been privileged to work on a number of contracts varying from a small retaining wall at Woodroffe School, all the way up to the flood alleviation scheme at AWE Burghfield. Each project has been similar yet different, each with their own challenges that had to be overcome by the site team.
I have found myself learning from everyone around on site ranging from the site agents who were ex-engineers, to the site operatives who know the best way to complete a task.
After finishing my HNC this summer, I was delighted to hear that Knights Brown would also sponsor me through a part time degree over the next four years. Even though it can be difficult balancing work and education, I am grateful to have been given this opportunity by Knights Brown. I have been able to work in the industry from a young age while also furthering myself academically without any of the debt.
Looking to the future, I hope to complete my degree and carry on working for Knights Brown on many more exciting projects.
You can read about others’ experiences of working with us in our blog.