Take a Closer Look: My Work Placement at Curtins

Sam Roach is a 15 year old school student from Liverpool. After completing his work placement here at Curtins, Sam reflects on his time with the company...

“My opening week at Curtins encompassed an overview of the rich heritage of a 60-year-old construction consultancy company and its outstanding business values. Immediately, I discovered the company’s perseverance in acquiring new, vibrant talent into the construction industry – on both a graduation and apprentice level.

After being taken round the two floors of the company’s headquarters in Liverpool and meeting the individuals who make up the team, I began working on my primary assignment. I hand calculated the loads acting on eight beams of a model construction I was provided with, as well as the axial forces in a variety of columns. To begin with, this appeared challenging. But, as I advanced I began to comprehend the rudimentary engineering principles I was taught by structural engineer Katey Lidell. Learning about fundamental engineering principles – such as compression and tension forces, as well as stability and equilibrium – formulating shear force graphs and bending moment graphs proved very enjoyable.

Over the course of my subsequent few weeks at Curtins, I finalised my first, second and third assignments. These comprised of generating the structural model I was provided with on Tekla Structural Designer and applying the loads to each of the beams accordingly. From this, the software was able to calculate the shear force and bending moment values for each beam and column for my model. Comparing my hand calculations to that of Tekla’s, I discovered that all my beams were calculated correctly. Having been challenged with navigating around Tekla prior to this, I was confident to ask Dave Ogilivie for help. I was then able to create a second model on Revit. My IT skills have definitely improved after experience such a range of different software.

During my time at Curtins I have gained confidence in the ‘world of work’ through participating in a mock interview and delivering a presentation of my achievements – to a panel of engineers in the office. Despite being quite nervous beforehand, the results were very rewarding and they provided me with a great insight into the process of both getting a job and roles that perhaps might be within a job.

In addition to all that I learned about engineering principles, my mentors Ciaran Allen and Dave Ogilivie made sure I got to see the business as a whole. During my time at Curtins, I spoke to members of the Structural engineering and technical team, as well as members of the Civils, Infrastructure, Transport Planning and Marketing/Communications teams. Every member of the teams I spoke to were very welcoming and answered any questions I had to ask.

Originally, my heart was set on becoming an architect, but my work placement at Curtins has provided me with a greater depth of understanding of the construction industry, meaning that I now have a firmer understanding of a wider range of opportunities available to me!”