Civil engineers play an extremely important role in society and at Jackson we take great pride in providing opportunities for the next generation. We’re delighted to announce that after a successful year of industrial placements, six graduates will be returning to Jackson to start their career in the construction industry.
We caught up with Mohammed Essa, Graduate Engineer returning to us after graduating with a First in Civil and Structural Engineering BEng from the University of Bradford.Did you always want to be a civil engineer growing up?
“I love this question because I didn’t even know what civil engineering was until I was 18! I actually wanted to be a cricketer, but that got cut short with injuries.”
“I took a gap year after college to concentrate on cricket and based on my college results, I asked around to see what career path would be best suited for me. One of my mates was doing an apprenticeship in civils and from what he described, I felt that civil engineering was really suited for a person like myself; practical, team player and a problem solver. I looked into it further and decided to go ahead with it and I’m glad I did!”
What do you hope to achieve now you’re a graduate?
“I hope to continue from where I left off after my placement year. University doesn’t teach much about the site engineering as it’s mainly design based so I’ve still got lots of learning to do on site. I hope to be a project manager one day, hopefully not too far into the future."
Did you enjoy your placement year with Jackson?
“Taking a year out to work for Jackson was the best decision I could have made! It’s put me ahead of all my classmates who didn’t do a placement. I got comfortable with working in construction and it helped me adapt to working life. It has also helped me start work as soon as I finished Uni, whereas others are still looking for work which is pretty tough right now considering the current economic climate.”
What advice would you give to a young engineer now starting their university journey?
“I’d tell a young engineer not to worry too much and not be overwhelmed by the workload, however know that the work you put in will determine your outcome in the future. Keep up to date with the work and you’ll be fine.”
“I really recommend doing a placement because whether you end up enjoying it or not, it will provide you with valuable knowledge not only about engineering, but you’ll also learn more about yourself as a person. People skills and general knowledge are as important as the content taught at university.”
“Don’t just be a bookworm, go out explore, socialise and take part in extracurricular activities. If done right, your university years will be the best years of your life!”
Paul Watson, Highways Director said that the ‘Highways Division is proud to have taken on industrial placements, trainees and apprentices every year’ and believes that the ‘value they bring to the rest of the team is immeasurable’. He continued: “their curiosity, enthusiasm to learn and willingness to get involved reenergises and reminds us all what a great industry this is and what great people we work with.”
“Mohammed was one of those that took it all in, worked hard and had fun - a real team player. We were sorry to see him return to his studies so I’m really pleased that the experience we gave him meant that he wanted to come back and develop his career with us - a journey I’m keen to support him in pursuing.”
Claire Chattenton, Head of HR and Training emphasized how, ‘At Jacksons, an integral part of our recruitment strategy is to employ students during the 3rd year of their university studies for both engineers and quantity surveyors. We have developed strong links with universities across the country and are able to provide placements to 15 students each year, with the intention of bringing them back as graduates once they have completed their studies, like we have with Mohammed.’