I came to Constructionarium during my first year of my MEng Civil Engineering degree at University of Southampton. It was my first experience of being on site and really blew all my expectations – it was one of the most challenging weeks of my life but also one of the best!
Our group of 23 built the Milau Viaduct and I took on the role of Project Manager for the first half of the week. I had never realised just how much paperwork there would be with all the permits, risk assessments and method statements that needed to be complete and accurate. When you are on site and responsible for the safety of your team you realise just how important Health and Safety procedures are.
Our team swapped roles halfway through the week so I was able to get hands-on experience of the practical tasks as well as the management side of things. Building a real structure was very different from taking part in a design project at university and it meant that we had to trust and respect each other. We weren’t afraid to speak up if there was a problem or something we didn’t know which meant we could share knowledge and learn from each other. We performed really well together as a team and finished the project on time. Although our lecturers and the Constructionarium team were there to support us, the decision making was left up to us. My organisational skills definitely improved over the week, suddenly bits of paper had a real meaning and I had to know where everything was. I also got much better at time management as when it comes to pouring concrete you just can’t be late!
After Constructionarium, I went onto complete a 10 week placement at Eurovia. This was really insightful and definitely gave me more motivation to complete my degree to the best of my abilities. Working on site, mainly in the highways and transport sector really expanded my understanding of things and what I loved was seeing the theory put into practice. Overall I had an amazing experience and cannot wait for next summer. Constructionarium played a role in securing my placement as I had something to talk about in my interview and experience of being on site.