Stacy Benson talks about the opportunities he's had on the Tube Lines graduate scheme and what it's like to work as a temporary works coordinator for a company that is trying to move millions of people around London every day.
What’s your name?
Where do you work?
Tube Lines, Canary Wharf, London
What's your job title?
Temporary works coordinator
How long have you been doing that?
How did you get there?
I did my BEng in civil engineering and construction at Coventry University. Before I completed my exams I applied for the graduate scheme at Tube Lines, which I was accepted on. Once I completed my exams I started here.
They allowed me to do lots of varying placements around the company allowing me to gain invaluable experience in many areas, not just structural and civil, but also finance, procurement and project management. I then applied for a position as temporary works coordinator six months prior to my scheme finishing and was accepted in the role. So here I am.
What's the work and day-to-day experience like?
The experience is great, I can honestly say when I come into work every morning I never know what challenges I am going to face, but that’s one of the best things about the job. I am never bored, which is the sort of position I have always wanted. You are constantly learning and expanding your knowledge in all fields and always getting to meet new people.
What's the best thing about the job?
The best thing about this position is how many different projects I am exposed to all around London. Not only do I get to see all the different projects that occur on the Tube, I am involved in the interfacing between major third party projects such as the Shard of Glass at London Bridge. Projects like that we have to make sure our assets are protected during construction of such structures. The job allows you to see many different areas of engineering and the experience that comes with it you couldn’t buy anywhere else.
And the worst?
The worst thing about the position is how some of the works can be very last minute, and it can be quite rushed at times but that’s the nature of a company which is trying to move millions of people round London every day. It’s not easy to get to work when the Tube isn’t running.
What did you expect when you started work?
I was desperate to start work by the time my university life finished as I was fed up with having no money. But I did think it would be a lot more cutthroat than it is, however that just might be because Tube Lines is such a good business to work for. They allow you time to adjust on the graduate scheme and give you all the supported that is needed to develop into a junior engineer.
What surprised me the most was how accommodating everyone in this industry seems to be, everyone is so keen to pass on knowledge and keep learning themselves. Sometimes even the senior engineers ask me questions about areas of engineering that they are not sharp on as they know that we have come out of university learning the most up to date information and we may be able to pass on new insights. Engineering is an ever-changing industry and I don’t think there will ever be a day where I stop learning.
Is there any advice you’d like to pass on to those about to enter an engineering workplace?
When I started at Tube Lines I was asked to do some design work and my mind went blank. I think it was due the severe amount of cramming of information before exams the previous May, that once I had finished my degree I just relinquished all the information. Then when I came to applying what I had learnt at work I had to relearn it again.
It doesn’t take long as things come flooding back to you, but I didn’t anticipate that I would so easily forget what I wasn’t applying to work on a regular basis. My advice would be before you start at any job make sure that you have just a quick read up on your university notes as it does come flooding back quickly and it stops that panic setting in when someone asks you to design a structure the minute you set foot in the door.
What do you think you'll do next?
I think I am going to stay in this role for the next couple of years to gain as much experience as I can from it and develop into it as much as possible. Once I feel I have gotten what I can out of it, I will try and get one of the next generation of graduates to take over from me to allow me to move on, hopefully to a project management or lead design engineer role.