Work Experience in the Construction Industry
Anybody entering the construction industry at graduate level nowadays will have a much better chance of securing a good job if they’ve had some experience. However, getting that experience before finishing your education can present somewhat of a challenge. Competition for construction, civil and surveying graduate jobs is pretty fierce and some type of industry related work experience could mean all the difference between getting the job of your dreams and struggling to find something that suits you.
There are internships available, often in the shape of a year in industry as part of your degree course (this is called a sandwich year). These jobs are often in the shape of an unpaid placement or work shadowing – following a construction professional throughout the working week to get a good idea of what their job is all about and what it entails.
There are often summer placements aimed at penultimate year students in order to give them the insights and experience that will make them ready for the world of work when they graduate. Some students choose to work on volunteer projects such as house-building overseas and this is not only a great way of gaining a little experience, it’s an opportunity to see a little bit of the world as you do so.
When looking for work experience for the summer holidays the best place to start is often with your place of education’s careers service – they often advertise work experience vacancies or have a list of potential employers that you could approach to organise some summer work for yourself. Perhaps your university or college has work placement tutors who should be able to inform you about sponsorship opportunities for placement students.
Some universities or colleges hold careers fairs which offer you a great opportunity to meet a range of potential employers, talk to them and get to know them and their company and whether they offer the type of work experience (or future job) that will suit you. Don’t forget that you don’t necessarily have to look for job advertisements in this field – sending your CV to companies shows a wealth of initiative that could go a long way towards helping you to stand out from the crowd and get yourself noticed by prospective employers.
If you don’t manage to find any work experience within the construction industry, there are plenty of other industries in which you could gain a little work experience while you wait for something to come up in construction. Or it may be possible to get a non-construction job within a construction company – you’ll then be well-placed to hear of any future jobs becoming available and the company will already have a good idea of your personality and how you fit into the company. This can be an attractive option for companies as they probably won’t have to take you through the induction process again, which will save the company both time and money.
However you manage to gain some work experience, don’t forget that some experience, no matter how little and in which industry, is always seen as better than no experience at all.