Civil Engineering student, Robert (Bob) Tough, is settling into life with Esh-Stantec as his Northumbrian Water Run2 Academy placement gets underway.
Bob isn’t a stranger to Esh though, during his time at secondary school he took part in Esh’s award-winning social value programme ‘Building My Skills’ and attended the end of programme mock interview day in 2019 at Newcastle Eagles Community Arena where he was interviewed by Esh-Stantec divisional director, David Pratt. Following this, Bob completed work experience with Esh’s civil engineering division at sites in Chester-Le-Street and Sunderland.
Aged 21 from Washington in Sunderland, Bob is studying Civil Engineering with a Year in Industry BEng Honours at Newcastle University. After completing his second year at university, Bob secured a place on Northumbrian Water’s Run2 Academy programme which will see him to complete a year-long placement at Northumbrian Water Group, and Esh Construction and Stantec via the Esh-Stantec joint venture.
For the final four months his placement, after completing his time with Northumbrian Water and Stantec, Bob is working within Esh-Stantec on Northumbrian Water Runway 2 projects alongside the planning, commercial and site teams. He is also receiving ongoing support from Northumbrian Water to develop soft skills, including CV writing.
We recently caught up with Bob to hear about his experience so far.
Can you explain your current placement via the Northumbrian Water Run2 Academy programme? How does it work?
The Northumbrian Water Run2 Academy offers a year-long placement which I am completing for my year in industry through my university studies. I started at Northumbrian Water within the asset management team where I shadowed a Project Manager and learned their role, something I haven’t covered in my degree. I then moved to Stantec and was based in the office working alongside the design team. I have now joined Esh-Stantec and will complete six weeks with planning, then onto the commercial team and site teams – I am here for four months overall.
What first interested you in a career in civil engineering?
At first, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I knew I wanted to work in construction but choose civil engineering from the skill set I have. I went to Discovery School in Newcastle which was a STEM specialist school and I studied GCSE’s in Engineering, Project Design, Electronics along with extra-curricular project-based learning. After my GCSE’s I knew I wanted to work in engineering so at Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy’s Sixth Form in Birtley, I went on to study Maths, Physics and Chemistry, which is where I was part of Esh’s ‘Building My Skills’ programme.
What are you studying at university?
I am studying Civil Engineering with a Year in Industry BEng Honours at Newcastle University. Civil Engineering is very broad and I wanted to get an insight into the industry before I graduated. My sister completed a year-out placement and it helped her, so gaining work experience and a better understanding of the industry interested me.
You have previous history with Esh having taken part in the ‘Building My Skills’ programme, mock interview day and completing a work experience placement, did it have an impact on your future decision-making around your career pathway?
I can remember the sessions and mock interviews well. Being part of the ‘Building My Skills’ programme allowed me to gain a good understanding of Esh, as well as other companies which delivered sessions. When it came to the mock interviews I was able to request an interview with Esh and have a good conversation with them. I got good feedback from the interviewer – I still have the sheet today. At age 17, I completed a work experience placement with Esh and I enjoyed the two sites I worked on. From my work experience, I knew the industry suited me and that I wanted to work in it in the future.
You’re currently working with Esh-Stantec, how are you finding this so far?
It’s going well, I had already met Chris Timms in September in collaborative meetings so this made it a lot easier for me to settle in. I am looking forward to what is planned as I am learning more skills that I will be able to use in the future once I graduate.
What are your plans following the placement?
Once I have finished my placement, I will go back to university and complete my degree. From there I am planning to apply for an Integrated Master’s at Newcastle University, this will allow me to pursue a chartership with the ICE post-graduation.
What would you say to another young person who was considering construction as a career pathway?
If you’re an outgoing person who doesn’t want to be stuck in an office all the time, it is a great industry to work in. There are so many projects you can work on so you will never be working on the same thing. I have learnt from my placement that there are so many jobs out there in construction, there really is something for everyone.
If you’re an outgoing person who doesn’t want to be stuck in an office all the time, it is a great industry to work in. There are so many projects you can work on so you will never be working on the same thing. I have learnt from my placement that there are so many jobs out there in construction, there really is something for everyone.”