By Karen Pearson

“Tell Me and I forget

Teach Me and I remember

Involve Me and I learn” Benjamin Franklin

We have all probably done a 1 or 2 week work experience placement somewhere, did it help you to make your mind up as to whether you wanted to work in the industry where your placement was? I know mine certainly did, I quickly realised that being a beauty therapist was not the glamourous life I had thought and quickly went off that idea!

Work Experience can play a major part in influencing a young person’s career decisions. It provides an opportunity for them to experience the world of work (some for the first time), can improve their confidence and they gain some valuable practical experience, which looks good on their CV!

On the flip side of this, the work experience person could realise that Engineering is exactly what they don’t want to do with their future!

In 2017 we have had over 20 work experience placements across our UK offices, not only in Engineering but also in our support functions. We receive some real positive feedback from the students who come in.

We want people to get the most out of their placement when they come to Cundall and have recently piloted a Work Experience programme in the Newcastle office, where students work through the life cycle of a building project and spend time in each of our disciplines, flowing naturally from one discipline to the next.

It is great that our employees are invested in creating a real learning opportunity and meaningful experience for the students. It can also help with developing employees mentoring and supervisory skills.

It can help in not only promoting Cundall, but also the whole industry, which in turn can help in providing a pool of young talent. This is important especially given the skills shortage in in the industry.

They may even hopefully one day come back to us, which we have seen happen on many occasions!

Work experience is not about getting them to make the tea round or merely watching what is going on around them. By having a carefully thought out Work Experience programme they can get a true picture of what it is like to work in our industry and it should benefit us in the future!

Comment from Hannah Brooker

“As a 14 year old, I spent a week at Cundall, hopping between all the disciplines for half a day or a day each. This was the result of a week of compulsory work experience required at school, and parents who suggested engineering as I enjoyed maths and science. It was my first real introduction the differences between each discipline, and what being an engineer might actually entail, and the first time I’d really considered engineering as a career.

I returned as a 17 year old, this time just focussing on civils and structures, having decided to apply to study structural engineering at university. The contacts I had from those two weeks allowed me to arrange summer placements during my time at university, where I got the chance to work on real projects and become part of the team. This eventually led to a job offer when I graduated in 2015.

Now, 10 years after first spending time in the Newcastle office, I’m supervising work experience students, with the knowledge that the day they spend in your team could definitely be influencing the rest of their life. So no pressure there at all!”

Find out more about Cundall’s Inspiring the Next Generation initiative here

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Inspiring the next generation, Karen Pearson, Working at Cundall

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