Riana Hattrell is currently undertaking a year-long industrial placement with Kier on the A13 Road Widening Project in Thurrock. Previously, Riana undertook a summer placement at our Crossrail joint venture, all whilst studying towards a Civil Engineering MEng at Loughborough University.

Riana was offered the chance to contribute towards Generation Eng, a new magazine created to inspire young engineers. The magazine - which is being distributed to schools, universities and businesses - celebrates the achievements of young engineers and aims to encourage people to explore educational and career paths in the engineering sector.

Here, in an excerpt from the magazine, Riana talks about her positive experiences on placement and the support that Kier has provided to her as she starts her career in the construction industry.

“Women in engineering are seen as an outlandish scene and in an event in which it happens, the industry seems to be in disbelief. What I believe is that women can do anything a man can. Yes, more women are needed in the industry but just because it is male dominated does not mean that you should be put off by the prospect of being one of the few to enter this route, you should see it as you creating a pathway for others to trek through in the future. This is why I decided to choose civil engineering as I wanted to show others that they should not hold back from something that they are passionate about due to external factors, stereotypes and statistics.

I am studying Civil Engineering MEng at Loughborough University and have worked hard to get to where am today, even though I still have a long way to go. One highlight of my university career is that I have had the pleasure of securing a summer placement (which was completed in the summer of 2019), sponsorship and an industry placement from Kier UK.

In my first year at university, a placement programme was bought to our attention which consisted of six sponsorship companies, I put in an application and in a few weeks I received several offers for an interview. At the end of the process Kier emailed me with an offer of a placement during that summer, further into the academic year, that placement was confirmed to be on the BAM Ferrovial Kier JV – Crossrail, Farringdon.

My placement was from July to August 2019, stepping into the workplace on my first day was daunting to say the least but over the weeks I learnt to come out of my shell and met so many amazing people along the way. During my time at the site I prepared the Civil Certification Document for the ETH (East Ticket hall) at Farringdon Station, this was a very big task but the amount of pride that I felt by having my name on an important document for the site was so great. I also spent my time by compiling method statements, material compliance records, and test scripts for the lifts and escalators. I also spent a lot of time onsite organising the requisitions and asset tagging and tracking, this was also a large job but it made me realise how the extent of the phrase ‘patience is a virtue’ is, but when you got into the swing of things, it didn’t really feel like work. In the last weeks of my placement I was asked to perform visitor induction briefings and also complete a health and safety walkaround with a foreman and report the findings of any hazards or not at the weekly meeting.

I chose to do a summer placement to help with my learning. As a practical and visual learner, it was very beneficial to see how the theoretical information, which you learn in lectures, is used on site and in a practical sense. I found that it helped me to have a greater appreciation for the knowledge which was being given to me as I could see how learnt material was used in the industry to change society.

A few weeks into my second year at university, I received an email from Kier which stated that they would like to sponsor me in my second year at university, due to my performance in my summer placement. This sponsorship also meant that I had a year in industry placement guaranteed with them as well. This was a big achievement as my hard work was being recognised and it motivated me to work even harder.

Overall, I would definitely recommend a placement to others because I feel that it helps to connect the learnt material from university to the reality of the industry.”

You can read Generation Eng for free online, or purchase a paper copy from https://www.generation-eng.com