Two Abertay University students are weighing up international opportunities after completing fully-paid work placements on one of the biggest civil engineering projects in Scotland’s history.
Greg Robertson, 21, and Ross Smith, 20, who have been pals since their early school days in Monifieth, have just finished extended industry placements on the Queensferry Crossing, where they received around £1,000 per month while learning how to apply their engineering skills.
Abertay is the only University in Scotland to offer a guaranteed work placement for every Civil Engineering student, and the pair now have more than seven months’ experience with Transport Scotland, Jacobs and Arup between them.
Places for a range of Civil Engineering courses starting this September are currently available through the Clearing process and applicants must sign up by August 28.
Now going into fourth year, both students plan to complete their degrees and then take on a Masters, with Greg already eyeing opportunities with Jacobs in the likes of Australia and New Zealand.
Greg, from Dundee, worked with Transport Scotland from January until the end of April and then Jacobs until August after his paid placement on the £1.35bn bridge was extended for the summer.
He was based on the Fife side of the bridge and split his time 50/50 between the office, where he would update drawings using AutoCAD software, and site work such as surveying using satellite technology.
“You are out with site inspectors at least four times per week and the standards are really stringent,” he said.
“You get experience of everything on the site and work from the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, which was described to me as the Bible for the job.
“After this work placement I’m so glad I chose to come to Abertay because it has been incredible.
“Experience is so important now and every employer is looking for it, so the fact you are getting real work while at Uni, and also getting paid for it, is perfect.
“Because I’m a Jacobs’ employee I have been getting emails offering opportunities to join the growing team in Australia and New Zealand. I’ve been speaking to my girlfriend about it and we will see what happens.”
Ross, from Dundee, did his placement with Transport Scotland and Arup and was based on the deck section of the 1.7-mile crossing, which is the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world.
He said: “Since it’s one team working across Transport Scotland, Jacobs and Arup, you were very much integrated with everyone and got loads of good experience.
“I was mainly looking at the progress of deck finishes like wind barriers and vehicle restraint systems, checking how much work had been done and reporting back to meetings.
“You learn loads when you are out on site and I feel I’ve taken a lot away from it. It opens so many doors to have worked with these three companies and it’s a chance to get to know people, meet them and get your face and name known.
” Forth Replacement Crossing Project Director David Climie said: “I know from my own personal experience how useful work experience is during a civil engineering university course.
“Transport Scotland has a long standing relationship with Abertay University and I am delighted that we have been able to offer opportunities to work on the Queensferry Crossing and its approach roads each year during the construction period.
“I have been very impressed with the consistently high calibre of the students involved who have been both enthusiastic and diligent in their periods with the client team.”
Not all Abertay work placements are paid and any payment is at the discretion of the employer.
For more information on Civil Engineering at Abertay visit https://www.abertay.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/civil-and-environmental-engineering/#d.en.24790