Civil engineer Eryl Evans who took his first tentative steps into the industry on a work experience placement with leading firm Jones Bros at just 16 is now heading up multi million pound projects.
Eryl was still at school and about to embark on his A Levels when he approached family firm Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK to request work experience.
A two-week placement followed, convincing Eryl that civil engineering was for him and he would spend the next two years gaining valuable experience at the company during school holidays.
Eryl, 33, went on to complete a degree in civil engineering at Cardiff University and landed a job with Jones Bros just weeks after graduating.
During the past decade he has worked on a wide range of projects, picking up an award along the way and is currently based at the 54-turbine Clyde wind farm extension in Scotland.
Celebrating a recent promotion to project manager, Eryl is now encouraging young people to consider a career in civil engineering and to make the most of work experience and summer placement opportunities that are available.
“I was about to go into the sixth form and was thinking about a career in civil engineering,” said Eryl. “I decided to ask at Jones Bros, for work experience and spent two weeks shadowing engineers, including a trip up to the Lake District to survey a site which was fascinating.
“It was a great experience and convinced me that civil engineering was the career for me as I also loved the idea of a job combining being outdoors with desk work.”
Eryl secured a place to study for a degree in civil engineering at Cardiff University and continued to work on placement at Jones Bros in the holidays.
“I had learned so much before I even started like surveying and setting out and it definitely gave me a head start over my peers,” he said.
After starting work as a trainee civil engineer with Jones Bros Eryl gained experience on a wide range of projects including working at landfill sites and highways schemes including re-surfacing of the A55 in North Wales.
In 2010 Eryl was part of a Jones Bros team that designed and constructed a renewable energy education centre at Aberthaw Power Station near Barry, South Wales.
Sustainable building technologies were installed in the bespoke project, with a feature being the centre’s 15m fin. “I remember that project very well as I had to scale the building to ensure that the fin was fully aligned,” said Eryl. “It’s a good job I have a head for heights.”
While overseeing the construction of a wind farm in north Yorkshire in 2013 Eryl was named North of England winner at the Building Safety Group’s Site Manager Awards.
The accolade was in recognition of a number of proactive initiatives he introduced to ensure safety targets were met during construction of the ten-turbine Sixpenny Wood wind farm.
Eryl said: “The great thing about working at Jones Bros is that they are a really friendly bunch and there are lots of opportunities because the company is really keen to enable its employees to progress.
“I would really encourage young people to give it a go. If they don’t enjoy it nothing has been lost but if they do, it could be the start of an exciting career.”
Opportunities at Jones Bros include a scheme for trainee engineers to study on day release; placements for learning on site in the holidays and training programmes for graduate civil engineers.
The family firm also offers apprenticeships in general construction and operating plant machinery with progression to supervisor, foreman, works manager and senior construction manager.
Founded in the 1950s and employing almost 350 people, Ruthin-based Jones Bros has grown steadily in the last decade. It is currently working on contracts in various sectors including the construction of waste management facilities, highways, flood and marine defence and renewable energy projects around the UK.
To find out more go to www.jonesbros.com/careers, or like its Facebook page by searching for “Jones Bros Careers.”