Meet the Apprentices...
Daniel Edmunds Role: Apprentice Civil Engineer Team: London Joined: 3 years at Waterman Group Why did you decide on an apprenticeship?
I never really knew what I wanted to do after school but went on to study geology, geography, archaeology, classical civilisations and an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) at South Thames College. My teacher for geology and archaeology taught through his passion for these subjects and this rubbed off on me.
At college, we were taught a broad range of criteria to fit a number of civil engineering jobs, and a lot of my class either decided the industry was not for them or went on to do more BIM & CAD-based work. At university, we are covering materials and equations which are used by engineers on a daily basis, so the lessons have become a lot more specific for my role. Meanwhile at work, I have been drafting and editing drawings as well as creating models, which most engineers out of university have little to no experience of. Alongside my day-to-day tasks, I have also spent a year working on document control, gaining a lot of knowledge on how our documents and drawings are delivered in coordination with other consultant’s documents.
Why Building Services Engineering?
After college, I wanted to continue learning and looked around universities to further my studies in geology, but ended up taking a year out to work beforehand. I found the idea of £9,000 a year debt less enticing, so began looking at other jobs in banking and mechanics where I could use my maths knowledge and that were more hands-on. In the end, engineering combined everything I had previously looked at, but I didn’t have any engineering-specific qualifications. This was not a problem as the apprenticeship offered me the chance to learn while working as a quick way to immerse myself in what I would be studying.
What do you do at work?
I started my apprenticeship at Waterman on my birthday in September 2017. Our structures team consists of around 25 people and includes draftsmen and engineers of various ages, experience and qualifications. They have all been very helpful when I needed assistance with any engineering questions. Having had four different mentors over the years, each with their own unique experiences, has also helped me with different aspects of my work.
The hardest part of working in the industry has been learning and remembering the terms engineers use on a daily basis. As the work I was given at the start was limited to my knowledge, it took a while for me to understand certain references on projects. I feel that the knowledge I am gaining in the industry is really rewarding but I still don’t have nearly enough to help on projects as the graduates on my section. Although I can see the opportunities that await me further along my studies, at the same time, I am able to help them with the more practical side of our work from my two years’ experience here as an apprentice, such as using AutoCAD and checking drawings.
I would happily recommend civil engineering as a career to anyone looking for a practical, hands-on and physical role whilst being given the opportunity to gain more knowledge and experience than other science-related jobs.
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