Summer placements help young civil engineering students firmly on career23rd Jun 2014

A young civil engineer who gained valuable experience on summer work placements with leading firm Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK is now playing a key role in multi-million pound contracts.

Rhydian Hafal, 25, was just 19 when he sacrificed his long summer holidays to undertake work placements on major civil engineering projects across the UK.

Just six years later Rhydian is now the site agent for Jones Bros on a £7m contract to construct an access road that will transport waste to a new multi-million pound Energy from Waste (EfW) plant in Buckinghamshire.

The project, close to the main A41, involves constructing a four and a half kilometer road along a former railway track, incorporating three road bridges across it.

Jones Bros is committed to providing work placements for students, with two civil engineering undergraduate students from Cardiff University preparing to start ten-week placements with the family firm.

Ifan Hafal, Rhydian’s younger brother, and Rhys Jones will spend time gaining experience on the access road scheme in Buckinghamshire as well as the construction of a landfill site at Glastonbury in Somerset.

Experts within business and universities believe that every student should have the opportunity to do an internship as part of their degree, whilst a recent survey of 100 recruiters emphasised the increasing value and importance of work experience and internships.

Jones Bros contracts manager Geraint Thomas, said: “We have been taking students on summer placement for a number of years now as we believe it is important to provide young people with opportunities to help them progress in the industry in the future.

“Rhydian first came to us as a teenage student and just six years later, he is leading on contracts worth millions of pounds. He is on the career ladder and I expect he will achieve a great deal.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Ifan and Rhys who will benefit from a terrific work experience programme which includes teaching them setting out, surveying, completing the relevant paperwork and experiencing a major civil engineering project at first hand.”

Rhydian, from Ruthin, North Wales, said: “I did my first work experience with Jones Bros at the end of my second year of my degree course. I started work on a landfill site and loved it from the word go. I picked everything up quickly and it convinced me that I had made the right decision in choosing civil engineering.

“When I went back to college in the September some of my fellow students had also undertaken work experience but most of that had been in design consultancies where they had been in an office rather than at the sharp end like I had.”

Rhydian graduated in 2010 and underwent further placements with Jones Bros, before taking time out to travel. He took up permanent employment with the company in June 2011 and his progression has been rapid since then.

“As site agent on the access road contract, this includes getting involved in everything such liaising with clients and sub contractors. I would definitely recommend doing summer work placements as it can help you be certain you are following the right career path and gives you loads of great experience.

“The hours are long but if you are willing to work hard then civil engineering is a really good career. I believe Jones Bros is a great company to work for and to progress in.”

Founded in the 1950s and employing approximately 300 people, Jones Bros has grown rapidly 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.