When Josh decided to leave college as he was a carer for his mum, he tried out a few jobs in the retail sector before landing an opportunity for an apprenticeship with Costain. 

Now he's found the role that's for him, and is flourishing in his new career and getting to demonstrate what he's capable of. 

I like that there is always something new I can sink my teeth into. I'm continuously developing new skills which I need to apply to other aspects of work, which keeps it interesting.

Based Wales
Employer Costain

What does your role involve?

My role involves setting out/surveying, managing and supervising aspects of works, providing engineering solutions to problems on site and maintaining accurate records of work. I’m also studying for a qualification, so I have one day a week off site for this. 

I’m proud that I get to finally show what I’m capable of, be it in college, getting the grades I want, or in work carrying out my duties to the best of my ability.

Josh Short

Apprentice Civil Engineer

What do you like about your job?

I like that there is always something new I can sink my teeth into. I’m continuously developing new skills which I need to apply to other aspects of work, which keeps it interesting. I like that I am bettering myself by working towards qualifications and that I get to do voluntary days.

I work with qualified, experienced engineers every day, which allows me to learn from their experience. There is ample opportunity for development which encourages me to try my best. I also enjoy the aspects of seeing something through to completion, and I’m part of structures that I’m getting to see from their foundations to being the finished product. 


What's your working day like?

My day consists of going out on site with another engineer, ensuring that the workforce has all the setting out, permits and RAMS needed to complete the task. Then I’ll supervise, checking on the work throughout the day, to make sure it’s being built as per the design and to the specifications.

There will generally be a few issues on site that we get contacted about, so we try to solve those problems as soon as we can. We’ll also generally set out works for the next day and write any permits that will be needed for upcoming works. At the end of each shift, we’ll write a detailed diary noting the resources used for that day. 


What skills do you need in your job?

You need to be able to work strongly in a team setting, think logically, have good communication skills and able to work well under pressure.

It’s good if you have a good grasp of mathematics and be able to set out instruments well. You may also find it useful to have or be working towards an engineering qualification. 


What was your background before starting this role?

I was a young carer growing up for my mum, which impacted my school studies. I did ok in my GCSEs, but then left college after my first year as I needed to care for my mum.

I started working part time in B&Q and then jumped around to a few different retail jobs until I landed my current role as an apprentice engineer through Arcadis’ Apprenticeship scheme. I was always interested in construction, Maths, Science and materials so engineering seemed like the perfect fit. 


What are you most proud of in your career?

I have three main proud moments in my career so far. Firstly, I’m proud that I get to finally show what I’m capable of, be it in college, getting the grades I want, or in work carrying out my duties to the best of my ability.

I’m getting a continuous sense of pride in my work every time something is completed. We are building a 70m bridge across a river which has been very challenging and is close to completion. I’m proud to be part of such a critical structure so early in my career.

Another thing I’m proud of is that I volunteered to deliver a presentation at Costain’s Roadshow event. I had to create and deliver a presentation about the projects that Costain have here in Wales and deliver it to 200 people, including executive board members and the CEO. I did all my own research and created an informative, accurate presentation that was well received by the audience. 


Where do you see yourself in ten years time?

I see myself becoming a fully qualified and experience engineer, possibly moving into management. By this time I would like to have my IEng status with the ICE aiming to become chartered. 


Do you have any advice for someone thinking about a career in construction?

My advice to anyone thinking about a career in construction is to do it! There are various roles within construction that aren’t limited to site work, so there’s something for everybody. And it’s a rewarding industry to work in.