Civil engineering, construction and building

Blog about civil engineering and construction

Chris Hunter

Crossrail placement at Graham

Chris Hunter is in his final year of the Civil Engineering with integrated foundation year BEng(Hons). He reflects on the best bits about his course and his placement experience.

“I chose University of Brighton because it offered a foundation engineering degree tied in with a 3 year BEng (Hons) degree.  In the foundation all four engineering disciplines (Civil, Electrical, Automotive and Aeronautical)  are studied.  After completing the first year you then select which degree you want to pursue, I continued with the Civil Engineering BEng. It was the freedom to choose which discipline to pursue after the first year that really appealed to me about this university, because if I’m honest I didn’t really know which area I wanted to study.

Civil engineering looks at all buildings and structures how to design and analyses them to see whether they are going to work.  We look at structures built in water, on land and study the forces involved in structures.  The course is not all taught in classrooms, throughout the years you experience labs to study the properties of materials, site visits, and how to use engineering tools e.g. total stations (If you ever see people in high vis jackets standing next to a tripod with a camera thing on it , that’s it).  The assessments are made up from coursework, reports, group work and exams spread through each semester.  All the modules give you a well-rounded knowledge and in the final year you are able to choose option modules in what you are interested in.

I particularly enjoyed the module Civil Engineering Practise (2nd year), we had to design a solution to a problem in the Kibera slums in Kenya.  The work got submitted into a national competition with the top ideas being selected to be developed alongside Engineering without Borders to be used.

I also really enjoyed the Construction Methods and Design (3rd year) module. This module brought together all the understanding of structure analysis and how to build a building and all the considerations you must address.  I learnt a lot of different construction techniques which I found very useful when doing my placement year.

I did a placement for one year between years 2 and 3 of my course working at Graham Construction.  I was fortunate enough to work on Crossrail at Ealing Broadway West London.  The placement year really brought together the skills I learnt at uni and developed them and having valuable experience on work on site was amazing.  The careers team at the uni helped me perfect my CV and prep me for the interviews and assessment centres which was so useful and pointed me in the right direction.

After uni I have managed to secure a job as a Site Civil Engineer with Graham, where I did my placement year.  I have been enrolled on their grad scheme and I am excited to begin working alongside previous colleagues.

I have grown more mature and starting to make better life decisions and grown a wealth of knowledge in the process of this great 5 years. The most important thing I have learnt is if you don’t know something just ask about, there’s thousands of people at the uni to help and it makes a real difference.”

Laura Ruby • March 4, 2021

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