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Balfour Beatty graduate engineer William Benson on the role of schools in promoting construction

William Benson, a graduate civil engineer with Balfour Beatty Construction Services UK, tells us how his interest in maths and science prompted him to look into a career in construction.

Q. How did you get into the industry?

A. The ability to utilise my interest in maths and science were important factors for me, when I was looking into future career paths while I was still at school.

I also didn’t want to be stuck indoors all day so a job which involved working outside was important - this led me towards the field of civil engineering.

I spent four weeks working in a Balfour Beatty lab on the A3 Hindhead tunnel project when I was 18. This gave me the opportunity to spend time working all over, in different sections of the engineering project and the placement cemented my decision to pursue a career in civil engineering.

Q. What is the best thing about construction?

A. I enjoy the fast-paced nature of the industry and being able to see the progression of work from planning through to construction.

I enjoy working with a variety of people, the opportunity to work abroad and enjoy the fact that a project I have been a part on will be used by many in the future. 

Q. If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?

A. I would like to see the engineering profession gain more awareness from society.

I believe the term engineer is used very loosely and this has led to a distorted view of the role of an engineer. With greater awareness and respect in society I believe that the profession can prosper.

Q. How should we encourage young people to join the industry?

A. At school I found maths somewhat frustrating because I didn’t appreciate the wide application of the core mathematical principles.

I would encourage teachers to explain how the maths national curriculum can be used in the student’s careers in the future. STEMNET provides resources for teachers to create opportunities and to inspire young people to join the industry.

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