Tell us a little about your role, the project you are supporting and the type of work you undertake on a daily basis
I am part way through the Graduate Business Scheme within Balfour Beatty Investments which involves three four-month placements in your first year. I spent my first placement in Operations, working with the Connect Roads team based at the M1-A1 in York. I then spent four months working in Australia before moving to our Manchester office working within the Social Infrastructure team on the Aberystwyth student accommodation bid.
What attracted you to Balfour Beatty?
I decided to apply for the Graduate Business Scheme because I wanted to use the knowledge learnt during my studies in a more practical way and on real life projects. I also felt that, Balfour Beatty being one of the largest infrastructure companies in the country, the opportunities at this company would be greater and more varied, both geographically and within the infrastructure industry.
After university, I was keen to start my career in the financial / legal sectors, and the Balfour Beatty Business Graduate Scheme offered the opportunity to use my infrastructure background whilst gaining new skills in the investment sector.
What development opportunities has your role provided?
I have gained a well-rounded overview of the company, plus my placement rotations allowed me to develop skills in different areas. Everyone within the company has been more than willing to help and offer advice. The highlight has certainly been spending four months in Australia. With only three Balfour Beatty Investment employees in Australia, I was exposed to various development opportunities including the front end of project development, the financial and commercial aspects of projects and the practicalities of expanding a business in a foreign country.
How has Balfour Beatty played a role in your long term career goals?
My degree was MEng Civil Engineering and Architecture, and I was lucky to have gained experience throughout university on 10 week summer placements, working in project management on the Cutty Sark renovation and University of Reading redevelopment. The graduate placements provided me with a chance to experience different functions and allow me to make an informed decision on which department I would like to work in in the future. The scheme has allowed me to remain in the infrastructure sector as well as gain additional skills in asset management and finance.
What has been your highlight so far at Balfour Beatty?
I love working for Balfour Beatty as I feel the teams really care about my career. So far, each placement has been very different – I love the variety and challenges that the scheme has given me. I get to travel around the UK and every week is different. Plus the chance to spend time working abroad has certainly been a highlight of the graduate scheme so far.
What one thing that surprised you most about working for Balfour Beatty?
There is so much variety within the industry that you’re never doing the same thing. I love that I have had the opportunity to be involved in the financial side of the business, whilst also using my civil engineering degree to understand the bigger picture. There’s opportunity to use different skills – practical, logical, commercial, communication, management and analytical - with a very real ability to make a difference to the communities you work within, through new schools or hospitals for example.
What top three tips would you give to anyone thinking of applying to Balfour Beatty?
- Be prepared – the selection process tests your ability as well as your match with the business. Make sure you prepare good examples to demonstrate your knowledge of the business and how you would become a valued member of the team.
- Test the company – take time throughout the application process to make sure it’s the right company for you too!
- Step outside your comfort zone – just because you studied a subject a university doesn’t mean that you can’t change direction. Take time to decide where you want to begin your career and go for it!