Testimonial: Eleanor Atherton

I attended Constructionarium in 2019 at the end of the second year of my degree at University of Leeds with JN Bentley. I had no previous site experience but took on the role of Construction Manager in our team building the Brewery Wharf footbridge.

Day 1 was a shocker and we weren’t as prepared as we could have been. The weather was horrendous and most of us discovered that our clothing wasn’t as waterproof as it could have been! This meant all our plans went out of the window and we had to think on our feet for the rest of the week as we tried to catch up. Normally as a student on a site visit you wouldn’t be allowed to actually build anything so to get that opportunity at Constructionarium was really valuable. It was great to see the different roles on site up close and it really helped me to understand what sort of tasks are involved in each role.

A site based role was not something I had considered before attending Constructionarium and I have definitely had my eyes opened to different options. I feel like it would be more interesting than being in an office all day. I learnt so much in a week – we had designed our own formwork but it wasn’t right and we had to re-build it 2 hours before the concrete was due to be delivered! I can’t think of anywhere else I could learn practical skills like steel fixing but for me developing leadership and teamwork skills was equally important.

At the end of the week I was offered a summer placement with JN Bentley where I had the chance to spend 6 weeks working on different projects. I would definitely recommend Constructionarium to anyone – it’s the best module I have done at university so far and I think I learnt more in one week than in the previous two years at university.