Muhammad Younas Mahmood

Name: Muhammad Younas Mahmood
Course: Civil Engineering
Year of Study: Second Year
Graduation Year: 2021

What work experience did you do?

Civil Engineering Design internship at Network Rail.

What was it that inspired you to look for work experience?

Getting experience to add to my CV, to help future job applications and gain contacts within a company for future references.

Why did you choose to do work experience in this area?

Manchester is the future site of the HS2 railway link to London which would create numerous jobs and opportunities, so getting into the company now would be helpful with graduate role applications and working on this huge project.

Give a brief snapshot of your role:

  • Conducted desk studies, produced reports, and completed diversity impact assessments in interdisciplinary scheme projects.
  • Attended site visits by completing health and safety briefs with senior engineers, to see the progress of undertrack crossing for wastewater infrastructure and under bridge repairs.
  • Used Autodesk ROBOT and AutoCAD to produce FEA analysis and create/change designs to fit client requirements. Furthermore, learnt relevant software such as GeoRINM, CARRS, CCMS2 and CATALOG to understand the structure of Network Rail.
  • I worked with senior engineers with their projects to assist in finding background information needed or by completing desk studies and initial surveys to find information that can be used.

How did the Bursary award support you in gaining experience?

After getting rejected by almost every application made, I turned towards using LinkedIn contacts for help to network and find an internship. Speaking with numerous people, I finally got through to the right person who helped me contact a senior person in the team and get me a role within the design team.

The Bursary award helped immensely as the role was unpaid, so having that money there took a lot of stress away and allowed me to gain vital experience.

What were the most enjoyable aspects of your role?

Just being a part of a team who were all incredibly helpful and took time out to help me understand engineering concepts while making sure I felt I was their equal.

Did you have any worries or concerns before your work experience and if so, how were they dealt with and overcome?

Not coming through the typical application format for internships, it was hard to know what was expected of me and what I should expect from them which made fitting in slightly difficult. After a meeting with my supervisor, I was given reassurance and told about the plan for the summer. These meetings were continued on a fortnightly basis helping me through every stage of the work experience.

What specific or transferable skills did you develop through the work experience?

Having learnt what is expected of you and how to act within a work-based environment helps you to grow your skills and gain many others you may never have thought were necessary. Time management, trusting, communication, report writing, presentation skills, resilience and self-motivation would be the main skills that were improved and can be transferred to my university life and other job sectors.

Did the work experience give you any insights and have these influenced your career pathway?

The work experience helped put the knowledge learnt in university into practice, helping me understand many basics and technical aspects not maybe understood in a lecture room. Civil Engineering is a broad degree and with many different paths to take for jobs. The internship helped narrow these choices down while introducing me to many other career paths not spoken about at a university level.

Do you have any words of wisdom for future students looking to gain work experience?

Don’t be disheartened about not finding a work experience, or if you do but it is too far away for it to be financially viable, there are many sources of funding available within each job sector that can help you gain experience. Try to discuss opportunities with professors and academics as they will have industry links and follow employees from the company you want to work for and I would suggest reaching out to them for opportunities.