More about James
What made you choose to study at NTU?
I decided to visit NTU during the clearing process following recommendations from postgraduate alumni I knew. I then contacted the head of the department who was happy to discuss in person the course and life as a student in Nottingham. Following this conversation, I applied through clearing.
Have you been involved in any live projects whilst studying at NTU?
We have worked with several companies, including Nottingham City Council, North Midland Construction and Severn Trent Water. A group project we completed during our 3rd year of study (4th year if including sandwich year) was particularly interesting as we were tasked with solving flooding issues in Nottingham city centre, in collaboration with North Midland Construction and Severn Trent Water.
We presented two presentations to lecturers and industry professionals, firstly outlining possible solutions and latterly detailing one option further. These presentations also required us to draw on other skills we had developed throughout our course, such as use of CAD (Computer Aided Design) software, devising traffic management and construction sequence planning, and determining anticipated project costs.
Have you been involved in any industry competitions as part of your course?
We were involved in one industry competition during 2nd year called Engineers Without Borders where we attempted to solve one of many problems with a coastal town in Peru using a limited budget. Our solution focused on waste management due to the poor existing facilities and high proportion of tourists in the area. We produced a report detailing project proposals which included recycling schemes, a new refuse organisation location and improvements to the existing landfill to stop the environmental problems associated with chemical runoff / leaching.
Have you completed any work placements on your course?
I have completed many work placements as a result of studying on my course. I undertook two summer placements with contractor Graham Construction on RAF Menwith Hill and TeesREP Biomass Plant. Tasks primarily included transferring my surveying skills from university to industry, manipulating data into drawings using CAD software and aiding with other site roles such as material deliveries, excavation works and installation of pipes.
In my placement year, I undertook a consulting role with Arcadis UK, where I worked across a wide variety of projects and schemes in the rail environment, primarily for Network Rail but also for HS2, Transport for London, NEXUS, Northern Rail, TransPennine Express and Babcock International. My project involvements included supporting bid formations for station renewals, optioneering processes for bridge refurbishments / reconstructions and station platform extensions and detailed designs of bridge refurbishments. In the summer between 3rd year and 4th year I returned to Arcadis UK, continuing with bridge strengthening / reconstruction works, but also worked on the outline development of a flood barrier across a railway crossing as part of the Newhaven Flood Alleviation Scheme.
The skills I gained will be useful once I have graduated, as I will be returning to a similar role.
How did you source your placements?
I sourced my contracting placements out myself, however NTU's Employability Team aided me to find a consulting role. They run an careers fair every year with many local and international employers present . This makes learning about new companies and contacting them far easier.
Have you won any awards relating to your course throughout your time at NTU?
VolkerFitzpatrick Prize for Outstanding Final Year BEng Civil Engineering Project.
What advice would you give to a prospective student thinking about studying your course?
The Civil Engineering course and the teaching team at NTU are exceptional. If you are going to apply to civil engineering elsewhere then at least also consider NTU. Just be prepared though, as learning lots of new knowledge and developing new skills also takes a lot of time and work!
Sum it up for us, what do like most about your course?
Going through the process of developing a design need through optioneering to the detailed design stage, considering all the different key elements to the project along the way.
What do you like about studying and living in Nottingham?
The student life in Nottingham is better than in most locations are the UK due to the nightlife, restaurants, entertainment and accessibility available. Studying at NTU is also very attractive due to the facilities it operates and its great location.
What do you hope to achieve after completing your degree?
To have a challenging but rewarding career, and possibly become a lecturer in the future to pass on my knowledge and experience through to the next generation of civil engineers.