“As university is mostly theoretical, it is the practical skills I learned which are the most valuable”
Craig Wilson, currently studying BEng Civil Engineering at The University of Strathclyde, worked with our team in Scotland during a summer placement. Here, he gives insight into his time with us and shares what he found particularly exciting.
I knew that I wanted to become an engineer from a young age. I have been exposed to the construction industry my whole life, working as a labourer for my dad’s company, which is what started my interest in engineering. I began researching the different types of engineering and career options associated with each, and as soon as I knew it was what I wanted to do, I never looked back. Determined to get into Strathclyde, I worked hard in school to get the grades that I needed. The Civil Engineering course at Strathclyde was very appealing to me as it contained modules from an array of engineering disciplines, including Structural Engineering aspects.
Working at Waterman has been a perfect way of bridging the gap between university and work, being able to put theory into practice. The team were really welcoming and helped me progress massively over such a short period of time. I can’t believe I was only there for six weeks.
During my first week, I was taken on-site at Hampden Park Stadium where the Structures team were undertaking an Annual Safety Inspection. Attending on-site visits was a valuable hands-on experience as it was so interesting to visit the Stadium in a different capacity, especially since I am also a big football fan, so it was great to be there.
I acquired several technical skills through my placement. It gave me the chance to assist with a project plan, which allowed me to understand the various aspects that need to be considered across each stage of a project. This will definitely benefit my future career. As university is mostly theoretical, it was the practical skills I learned which are most valuable as they will demonstrate my competence to employers. Working in the industry, I have begun to understand what it takes to become an engineer, which is something that no amount of studying could have taught me. Observing and assisting the rest of the team both in the office and on-site has been beneficial as many of my colleagues are experienced experts in a variety of areas, allowing me to learn from each of them and listen to their advice. I’m sure I’ll make use of everything I have learned during my degree and as my own career begins.
My time at Waterman has given me a new-found enthusiasm for the industry, which I am excited to take back and apply to my studies. Before starting at Waterman, my CAD skills were not as strong, but having been trained by various members of the Glasgow team, my skills have improved considerably. This year I will have a module based on CAD at university, so I am looking forward to implementing what I have learned this summer.
My aim is to continue learning and progressing as much as I can as an engineer. I am going to make the most of my final year at university and work hard on my dissertation, as I always like to aim high. I need to finalise my dissertation topic when I return to university, but I have thought a lot about it over the summer and now have a better understanding. Longer-term, I hope to graduate with my MEng in Civil Engineering and progress towards Chartership. I’m really enjoying my studies, but I am also excited to graduate and start my career in the industry as there is so much to get involved with.