My placement at Network Rail
Anne Wandu is currently working with the asset management team at Network Rail as an asset engineer following the completion of her second year studying Civil Engineering BEng (Hons). This role involves looking after assets such as structures.
My work involves carrying out desktop study and on-site risks assessments which I have found quite easy to do, as one of my first year group projects involved doing similar assessments. The risk assessments enable us to monitor the assets condition and capability, therefore allowing for maintenance, risk mitigation and renewal works to be efficiently planned for.
One of my current placement projects involves me looking at any structures between London and Birmingham that require minor works such as de-vegetation, handrail instalment, and brickwork and culvert repairs. These minor works should help improve a structures condition, facilitate future assessments on the structures and provide a safe working area. I will then be issuing these works to a works delivery team, who will in turn get contractors to do the works on site. When the works are completed, I will then review them to check they were completed as required and then close them out.
My advice to anyone considering a placement? It is 100% worth it. If you are like me and not sure what path to take after graduating, a placement should help filter out some options.
I am now in my fifth month of the placement and I have already learnt and been involved in so many things. I have learnt how to analyse a structure and recommend repair work. I have learnt how to effectively communicate with my teammates and people in senior positions. I have been able to greatly improve my organisation skills, time management skills, presentation skills, technical skills (engineering analysis), use of Microsoft Excel and other company applications.
During my time applying for placements, I received a lot of assistance with my CV and covering letters from the faculty’s placements team. I also had interview practice with a placement advisor which really helped me to build my confidence and gain some experience on how to respond to possible interview questions. I even learnt how to improve my body language during interviews, as it can have a significant impact on how one is perceived, leaving only a small amount to the actual words spoken.
My advice to anyone considering a placement? It is 100% worth it. If you are like me and not sure what path to take after graduating, a placement should help filter out some options. I have now been able to make some adjustments to my course and have a clearer idea of what career paths I might want to consider thanks to my placement. My placement has helped to build my network and interest in my course.
Getting involved in real-life projects before graduating has been a great bonus for me; not only for my CV, but also in working towards the requirements to be a Chartered Engineer (CEng) sooner.