In 2016, Tom Garnett joined Kier as part of its graduate programme. Here, Tom shares his thoughts on the graduate scheme, the exciting and high-profile projects he has worked on and how his interest in construction all started with his grandad.

“Working in construction? That’s just standing in a muddy field isn’t it? That’s what I was always told construction would be like in school.

From a young age I used to play around in my grandads’ garage making and breaking things to figure out how they worked. That’s where my love of engineering came from.

That interest never dampened and as I got older I was fascinated by the large buildings and structures around us – how were they constructed, and why were they built in such a way?

I wasn’t sure what to do when I left school but I did some research on what engineering degrees were available and decided that civil & structural engineering sounded like the right choice for me. I went to Leeds university and four years and an industrial placement year later, I graduated.

I was lucky enough be offered a position on Kier’s graduate scheme, and my first project was as a site engineer on the Hinkley Point C project. This gave me an eye-opening experience as to how big construction projects can be and how every single person, engineer or not, has an important role to play in the delivery of such a scheme.

I spent a year on this project and with the help of the other engineers made a great start on my professional development.

I then decided that I needed further experience in the design side of engineering as my industrial placement had taught me a lot about how structures were designed but I had little experience in this. I joined the Kier Professional Services team in Leeds and was involved in some really challenging schemes, from a bespoke vehicle barrier to a complex scaffold remediation. This experience allowed me to sign off my ICE professional development objectives, which meant I was ready to sit my Chartered Professional Review.

Prior to sitting my review, I undertook a secondment in the Group safety, health and environmental (SHE) team, working alongside the regional temporary works advisors. This was a great role and one through which I met some great people along the way.

Following on from my secondment, I was offered a role as a site manager on the Yorkshire Water complex civils framework, where I have worked on some very interesting and sometimes smelly treatment works.   

In October of this year, I sat my Chartered Professional Review. Four years of work finally paid off and I received the news that I had passed and could now call myself a chartered engineer!

Kier has given me the confidence and the support I needed to become a chartered engineer and I am very grateful to all those who have helped me along the way, I could not have done it without them. I would recommend the graduate scheme to anyone who is wanting to join the industry.

From all the experiences I have had in my short career to date, I can definitely say that construction is much more than just standing in a muddy field.

If I was to offer one piece of advice to someone looking to join the industry, it would be that it doesn’t matter what you want to do… whether you are good with numbers, an excellent manager of people or a pro-problem solver, construction has a role for everyone.”

For more information on Kier's graduate scheme, click here