Case study

Design engineer — Adam Bills

After an internship sparked an interest in the construction industry Adam now works for a house builder and is able to see his designs develop from initial ideas into reality

What did you do after you graduated?

During the first twelve months after graduating from the University of Wolverhampton I worked as a self-employed painter and decorator; and also interned for a small creative agency.

Although I wasn't getting paid for my internship, I received travel expenses and was involved in exciting live projects. The creative agency did a lot of graphics and web design, but I was designing exhibition stands for their clientele.

How did you get your internship?

I sent off my CV and portfolio to hundreds of different design companies before being offered my internship. I will always be grateful that I had the chance to work for them and gain some project experience, but even though it was very relevant to my degree I couldn't see myself doing it for a living.

How did you get your job?

When my internship came to an end, I was still working 'on the tools' on building sites. I picked up such a valuable knowledge of new houses that I knew I wanted to work in the construction industry.

I established a good relationship with a site manager at Redrow and he informed me of a position available at the Midlands head office. I applied, was interviewed, and was offered the job.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

Not very. But it certainly provided me with the essential tools I needed to work in house building - technical drawing, CAD proficiency and spatial awareness.

What are your main work activities?

Everything from designing new roads and drainage layouts, to surveying new sites, liaising with external contractors, understanding types of foundations and supplying drawings.

How do you use your degree in your job?

In a lot of the things I have to do: being able to think in 3D and understand architectural drawings is key to my role.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Everything. I love the mix between office work and being out on site; you learn so much more by seeing how things are communicated from a drawing to a real life building. I have also been given a brand new company car, a very big perk.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Being from an interior design background and changing to engineering brings challenges. However, my degree is still my crucial tool that I wouldn't be here without.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

A technical manager.

Any advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Be realistic with yourself, be patient, positive and work hard. Don't consider your degree to be the end of your education; it is the very foundation of what will make you a success in the future.

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