UCT's top senior civil engineering students are in demand for their quality and commitment. Last week representatives of one of the fastest-growing civil engineering contracting companies in the United Kingdom visited the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment to offer several promising students employment and bursary opportunities.
Barhale, which is based in Harrow, Middlesex, already employs several UCT-educated professionals in the construction and engineering fields. Senior project manager, Mark Evans, said the South African graduates generally were noted for their strong work ethic and, in the civil engineering field, for their sound skills and capabilities. Human Resources Manager, Patrick Curran, who accompanied Evans on his visit, said Barhale was keen to develop long-term partnership with UCT to attract "top talent" to the construction industry in the United Kingdom.
Students were interviewed for possible vacation placement with Barhale. The company is offering senior students vacation work during December and January. "If the work placement is successful, we will sponsor their final year and once they have completed their studies, we offer them full-time positions in the UK," Curran added.
He said that there had been an under-investment in infrastructure in the UK during the past years. "But we are experiencing an upturn as the government invests in schools, hospitals and other services. There has been an upsurge in the construction industry, across the board."
Curran said that wages in the engineering sector in the UK had also risen sharply in the last few years. "Wages have increased by as much as 35%. Construction has become a more attractive field to work in." He said the company was also looking at quantity surveying students as well as recruiting qualified individuals in engineering and construction.
Of the UCT students he said: "The quality is so high that we're finding it difficult to choose." While Australians and New Zealanders had also been considered for recruitment in the past, Curran said South Africans were sought after as they tended to "settle well" in the UK.