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Placement student experience: Daisy’s story


Daisy Lunt is a placement student currently based at our site at Sonning Common Retirement Village in South Oxfordshire. She will soon be taking a solo volunteering trip of a lifetime to Africa. Find out more about her experience on placement with Farrans.

How long have you been employed at Farrans?
I have been working for Farrans for just under a year, 11 months to be exact. I am completing my year in industry placement experience, doing site engineering. I started at Keynsham Recycling Hub in Bristol but now work at Sonning Common Retirement Village in Reading. I will undergo my bursary interview in a few weeks, and I am hoping to be successful in gaining the graduate engineering role, which will hopefully kickstart my construction-focused career. In the future, I would love to progress into a similar role to my Contracts Manager Clare Taylor, or even have my own construction business, working in property development.

What does your work day look like?
A typical day for me involves being active on site, ensuring all that is being installed or completed is being done correctly while also focusing on quality control. I have recently been focusing on the concrete pours. This involves ensuring the rebar has been correctly placed, the cover is efficient, while also making sure that shuttering is to the temporary works designs that have been submitted. I have also been supervising the setting out block/brickwork for the bricklayers on site, with a Leica TS16 total station. This includes setting out the external walls, party walls, and lift shafts. I have been given the responsibilities of the P.U.W.E.R and L.O.L.E.R.S for the site, so I focus on ensuring I have time each day to oversee and ensure all is accurately in place, adhering to the H&S regulations.

What is the most rewarding thing about your role?
The level of responsibility that I have been given for the work. I like discussing the details of the works with subcontractors and take great satisfaction from seeing the jobs completed to a high standard, knowing I have contributed to a successful build. The ability to interact with colleagues, supervisory staff and contractors on-site is also something that I find very satisfying.

One thing about your job that most people wouldn’t expect?
As my role is only a placement student I think the level of exposure to the management aspect of the project would be something people would not expect me to have taken on. Farrans has given me the opportunity to gain experience in a range of important activities such as health and safety tasks, 6-week lookaheads, and even client meetings. This has enabled me to gain significant experience in a range of important activities, that will ultimately prepare me for when I am a qualified site engineer.

One thing that you are proud of?
From a work perspective, I am proud of the fact that I have embraced the responsibility I have been given and the trust placed in me by my supervisors at Farrans. I have thrown myself into the work and tried to squeeze as much knowledge and vital experience as I can from my placement year and the trust placed in me by Farrans has assisted me to ensure that I have developed vitally important skills for the future. Outside of work, the year placement has helped me to develop a level of maturity quickly. Living at home and in Halls at University was an important step in my development but being in the workplace and living independently has certainly assisted me to grow up quickly.

My placement year has been one of the most amazing experiences. I remember feeling pretty nervous about the year, before I started. I was encouraged by family members, particularly those who work closely with the construction industry, to embrace the challenge as it will provide me with skills experience and insight that no university course, however good, can provide. I have found it to be exactly that. A fantastic, challenging, sometimes frustrating but always rewarding, year working in ‘real world’ construction. It is an experience that I will never forget and I will encourage others to try. I am sure, like me, they will be so pleased they grasped the opportunity.

You are travelling to Africa to partake in volunteering soon?
I decided to choose to volunteer solo in Africa as I wanted to challenge myself. If you had told me last year that I would be volunteering to travel solo to Africa I would simply not have believed it.  My confidence in the year of working on-site with Farrans has increased massively, and this will only take me further. I am also going to be back at university in September, and I wanted to have something to focus on before all of my attention is focused on perfecting my dissertation and getting the best grades at University.

What are you expecting to do once there?
Upon arrival in Tanzania, I will be volunteering in a small village called Arusha, where I will have the opportunity to put my engineering skills into practice for the benefit of the local community. I will be helping to maintain, improve and build the infrastructure for homes, schools and other essential buildings. I will also be involved in volunteering in the schools and orphanages, working with the children, helping them with their schoolwork.

What do you hope to gain from this trip?
I would love to be able to have a positive impact on the lives of the local communities that I will meet in Africa, who simply do not have the opportunities which I have had access to. I will be taking a suitcase of clothes/books/school stationery for the children I will be working with during the 4 weeks I will be in Africa. I really hope to make a difference to the children especially, to keep them in school longer or even just to make them smile every day. We are very fortunate in the UK, and I think this experience in Tanzania will enable to me see just how lucky we are. In Africa, 431 million people are living in poverty, I hope to gain a cultural insight as to what life is like for people in the town of Arusha.

The charity I have chosen to fundraise for, The Tanzania Development Trust,  focuses on providing clean water, safe education spaces and uniforms for the children.