We spoke to Hamza Mansoor, an Apprentice Engineer with the Integrated Project Team at SCS Railways
Can you describe your role in a few words?
I am part of the site team planning, organising and supervising a section of the HS2 construction project.
What were you doing prior to your Apprenticeship?
Prior to the start of my apprenticeship, I was studying at Sixth Form, completing my Level 3 qualifications. Aside from increasing my knowledge whilst completing my qualifications, I worked on improving my skills and gaining experience. I had the opportunity to complete two weeks of work experience with Transport for London (TfL) which truly enabled me to gain many skills and has gotten me to where I am today.
I was offered a place at university for a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, however due to my determination to get an apprenticeship, I decided to reject it and take a gap year to focus on improving my skills and to continue applying for apprenticeships. Fortunately, four months after declining my university offer, I was offered the opportunity to join Skanska as a trainee/apprentice civil engineer.
What was your perception of the industry before you started your apprenticeship?
I have always seen the people in the construction industry as the unsung heroes of our society as they strive daily to improve the wellbeing of our society. This is what enticed me to become a civil engineer and to be a part of the positive impact that good transport infrastructure brings. Before starting my apprenticeship, I had two weeks of work experience at Transport for London, which was the turning point of my career path. Before that, I wanted to study electronic engineering. After shadowing the project managers on the Barking Riverside project, and observing the amazing work they were doing, I really thought to myself that this is what I want to do, and here I am today as a trainee civil engineer working on the largest infrastructure project in Europe.
What interested you in joining Skanska?
I was really interested in joining Skanska/SCS Railways because of the amazing opportunities that were offered to me. Firstly, being able to make a positive impact and to work on the largest infrastructure mega-project in Europe really enticed me to join. The purpose and values that Skanska/SCS Railways has also really impacted on my decision.
Have you had the opportunity to work on HS2 yet?
I am currently working on the Victoria Road Crossover Box project which is located to the west of where the new superhub HS2 Old Oak Common station is being constructed. The project consists of the construction of a Crossover Box and Ancillary Shaft. The huge underground box structure being built will allow trains to switch between tracks on the approach and descent from Old Oak Common station. The Ancillary Shaft will provide ventilation and emergency access to the rail line during operation.
What are the key things you’ve learnt so far in your job?
As engineers working on a construction site, it is our responsibility to provide documentation and implement control measures to minimise potential risks on site. I have learnt how to produce safe systems of works such as method statements and permits, to ensure that the construction work is carried out safely and control measures are always in place.
As a trainee site engineer, one of my responsibilities are to use engineering instrumentation to ensure structures are constructed in the right position and correct level. I have learnt how to use Leica robotic total stations and a GPS to accurately set out and record points around the construction site.
I’ve also learnt how to carry out quality inspections in accordance with the Inspection and Testing Plan. I’ve carried out and recorded many pre-pour inspections of structures prior to concrete pours.
What is the most exciting part of your role?
The most exciting part of my job is seeing a drawing come to life. It’s truly fascinating to see an A3 drawing in your hands come to life and knowing that you were a part of the process.
What would you like to do after completing your apprenticeship?
The top advantage I have with a completed apprenticeship is that I will have a degree plus five years of experience on Europe’s largest infrastructure project! This will enable me to work my way up the hierarchy in the construction industry and to continue contributing to amazing projects in the future.