graduate engineer Tahir Akhtar

Tahir writes:

I joined VGC group on 26 September 2016 as a graduate engineer.

Not having much experience as an engineer yet, I was unsure of what to expect from the company and the role as a whole.

I work within the rail projects team at VGC. Rail is one of the most stringently regulated industries in the UK, and I feel it is a great match to suit my skills and keep me on my toes.

I have been working on the Crossrail East Anglia project. It is part of the largest construction project in Europe, which aims to increase London’s rail capacity by 10%. The sheer size of the project allows me to get involved in many activities which I otherwise would not have been exposed to.

Racecard meetings

An example of this is the weekly racecard meeting. At this meeting, all the contractors working in the various areas brief the other contractors on their works, to avoid any conflicts of interest. This is to ensure each contractor is able to complete their scheduled works planned for that week, without any hindrance from any other contractor or supplier. My role includes attending the meeting and briefing the other contractors on VGC’s planned works. We make amendments if planned works conflict with another contractor. I then have to update the construction manager on what was discussed, especially if there are any changes to our works.

No two days are the same

The other areas I have been involved with include input into task briefs: these depend upon site work and are updated as and when it changes. I also close out permits to dig, and compile daily diaries. I have assisted with a take-off as part of tendering for a project: that means working out the quantities of materials from the engineering drawings, as part of estimating the costs. I have also prepared hot works permits and arranged setting up points and track monitoring.

I have completed walkouts with the client (Costain and Network Rail) to discuss any amendments required to the work.

Currently I am working on the handover stage of the project. This includes creating ITPs and compiling all the handover documentation, such as conformity certificates, pictures and delivery notes.

I would say my first months with the company have been very enjoyable. No two days are the same! As a graduate engineer I am being exposed to a variety of interesting activities, as well as finding and creating my own career path.

Author: Tahir Akhtar, graduate engineer

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