- 2nd August 2018
- Posted by: Joanne Woodhouse
- Category: Blog
Hi, my name is Jacob. I’m currently at Joseph Rowntree school near York and I was at JBA Consulting for a week quite recently. I enjoyed myself and have had a vital experience of office life, as well as a variety of opportunities that came my way during my time working across the offices.
I believe that this experience has given me a perspective of how life away from school works, encompassing the key parts of working life and providing me with an overview of how this and other businesses operate. Each day was exciting and unique, exploring new projects and challenges with the chance to interact with different people at all levels across the company, each with their goals to achieve/tasks to complete. All the staff that I met were friendly, welcoming, and approachable, creating a supportive environment for work experience.
A week in the life
General admin with Tim Bates, Group Health and Safety Adviser and my placement supervisor, testing and suggesting improvements as well as highlighting things that I found useful and liked about the new internal IMS SharePoint system. This was beneficial to me as I gained further detailed knowledge of the company, its management systems and IMS SharePoint Site, and about the structure of different parts of the company to help with my Business Studies GCSE.
As I was looking at the IMS SharePoint Site from a fresh, unseen perspective, it also benefitted the company as I was able to give feedback to Allison Thomas to help improve the site. I found it clear, relevant and easy to follow, so any member of staff will now be able to use it with ease and efficiency.
I worked with Callum Hanson doing geotechnical engineering work – my favourite of all the days. It was very interesting and provided me with a better idea of different job roles and improved understanding of the following day’s activities.
I did a geotechnical Desk Study on a site in Retford which involved writing a location description and analysis of the area, followed by geological information for the Study. After this, I did an assessment of the site and a 500-metre radius, using old maps dating back to 1885. This was fascinating as I got to map the contamination risks and the progression of sites throughout history until the present day.
The task was also beneficial to the engineers as the work was on a live project and the desk study I produced will go on to inform later stages of the project, giving me a feeling that my activities for the day had been useful.
I went to the JBA Trust in Skipton which was thoroughly enjoyable, despite the very early start and train commute. I met Alexandra Scott, Programme Manager, and Bridget Brady, Engagement and Technical Support Officer, and we discussed the role of the Trust and how it differs from the rest of the company.
They then set me up with a project to do which was filling in over 100 grid references on an Excel spreadsheet, plotting locations where the brilliant JBA Trust wave tank, flumes and AR Sandbox had been showcased across the country. This data will then be used to populate a map to show the locations they had visited since 2013 to be used on the JBA Trust’s website.
I then did something similar using grid references, but instead of locations of the exhibitions, it was locations of orchestrated and planned events. Following on from this I developed a slideshow picture presentation for use in future clientele meetings.
Lastly, I completed a review of the JBA Trust’s website including primarily the things I liked about the website, that I found useful and well developed/implemented but also some minor suggestions to improve it to make it more user friendly and up to date.
I travelled down to the Doncaster office and was shown around by Ian Benn, Clerk of the Shiregroup of IDBs, who introduced me to all the staff there. Following this, I then went out onto site with Alison Briggs to view culverts, weed screens and IDB assets. I learnt how they are effectively managed to keep low lying land free from flood waters while maintaining farmland, habitats and encouraging wildlife to flourish.
When I arrived back I chatted to Martin Spoor, Asset Manager, about the pumping stations and drainage engineering models and the development of new systems. This then prompted him to show me the database screens for the pumping stations (Telemetry) where he taught me about how they operate, their parameters, uses, trends and how/why they are monitored. This also covered the various settings that can be selected to improve efficiency, reduce costs and prevent the disruptions of different eco-systems and how this can all be done remotely and from a computer – I found this all extremely interesting. I then did more work updating IMS based off my previous suggestions I had made and transferring data to a different, more convenient format.
I continued to do more work on IMS SharePoint transferring data to a long list enveloping professional institution membership sites, abbreviations, the URL links, a description/site name and the chartered opportunities they can offer e.g. chartered engineer. Next, I re-developed the roles, training, duties etc required in some older job descriptions; these now have updated information in them, necessary for the company as this will be put into IMS also.
A valuable opportunity
Overall, I loved this experience and all the activities it enabled me to do as well as the knowledge it provided. I wanted to link my work experience with my Business Studies course, and this placement provided me with a valuable opportunity to test various situations from the office environment to site work, seeing how the jigsaw fits together.
I would definitely recommend JBA to anyone thinking about doing work experience, as it has a variety of specialisms to offer; ecology, geology, geotechnics, IT etc. Plus, it is a national company so has widespread locations for student work experience, increasing its appeal and accessibility.