After completing his Graduate Scheme in December, we caught up with our contracts engineer Sam Riley to find out more about his experiences on Aarsleff’s Graduate Programme.
What have been your highlights during the Aarsleff Graduate programme?
The highlight of my Aarsleff graduate programme has been completing the piling project for Brett Concrete at Newhaven Port. This was, and still is, the largest project that I have ran during my graduate programme. On the project, we installed over 36,000m across 1,069no. piles with individual lengths of up to 35m. We had multiple piling rigs operating simultaneously on the site, as well as using a crawler crane to install some difficult to reach pile positions, all whilst working within the busy international Newhaven Port.
What challenges did you experience on this project?
In terms of logistical challenges, there were 6No. steel tubular piles at Newhaven Port which we had to install with crawler crane – this was extremely difficult. We could not use a normal piling rig as the concrete slab was suspended and could not support the weight. Therefore, we cut holes through the concrete slab and installed the piles using a hammer suspended by the crawler crane. We also utilised a large trestle, which is normally used on Aarsleff’s sheet piling projects, to support the tubes whilst they were being driven.
How have your colleagues mentored / supported you on your journey?
Initially, when I began working with the piling operations team, I was paired with a mentor who I shadowed from job to job. This gave me an opportunity to witness how piling projects were set up and operated. Once I had gained a basic understanding, I was then assigned my own projects to run entirely on my own. Since the start of the graduate programme, I have had support from my colleagues and working in a close-knit team has taught me to never be afraid of asking questions. There is a great energy within the piling department, and we all thrive off completing jobs safely, on time and within budget.
What would you say to someone considering a graduate programme with Aarsleff? Any words of advice?
I would recommend it! The Aarsleff graduate programme is great and provides a real insight into working on civil engineering projects. A word of advice though:
Be prepared to take on responsibility immediately and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
How has the graduate scheme helped you develop both personally and professionally?
I have loads of opportunity to develop my skills whilst on Aarsleff’s graduate programme. I have undertaken numerous training courses and achieved some valuable qualifications from Temporary Works to Appointed Person. I also had the opportunity to take part in the ICE Merit game last year with other graduates and young members of Aarsleff. I also had a great time at the Christmas Company Party and the other social events Aarsleff have put on for its employees.
Why do you like working with Aarsleff Ground Engineering? Is it the team / culture / site work / engineering challenges etc?
No job is the same, every day is different. There are new and unique challenges with every job you take on. You also meet a lot of people, working closely with Aarsleff’s clients and the site operatives who I manage. Like on the Newhaven Port project, each project has its own challenges.
What is to be expected of you now as a Contracts Engineer? More responsibility, larger schemes?
My day to day role as a contracts engineer will not be too dissimilar to my previous role as a graduate engineer. The main difference is I’ll be tasked with looking after larger and more complex projects. I have started my Site Manager Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) course, which will progress my understanding of site safety and CDM regulations. So far this year, I have completed several projects and I am looking forward to tackling some larger scale projects that are in the pipeline.