“This was our first year of being part of the Dream Placement scheme,” explained Elizabeth Atkinson, Social Impact Manager at KAEFER’s Cumbria site which services multiple clients within West Cumbria. “We were delighted to welcome two students through the scheme, Luke who is a year 12 student at Nelson Thomlinson School at Wigton and Morgan a year 13 student at Keswick School.”
Candidates were initially selected anonymously, based on their personal goals and aspirations then via face-to-face interviews. “The Dream Placement is not a standard work experience opportunity,” explained Darren New, General Manager at KAEFER’s Cumbria Site. “The programme is well-developed and structured allowing us to be involved at a very early stage in selecting the candidates who we believed would get the most from their KAEFER experience. From my own personal interaction with the placements it was evident this process was successful, worthwhile and enjoyable for both Luke and Morgan as well as the KAEFER Team.”
During the week both Luke and Morgan had a variety of tasks to get to grips with. Monday started with both students at KAEFER’s West Lakes office getting the opportunity to speak to KAEFER HR Director Laura Bowes. “Laura talked them through her own career journey and gave them some excellent tips and advice about making the most of their week with us.,” explained Elizabeth.
On the Tuesday the students were taken on an official tour of the Sellafield site, giving them an insight into the work that happens on the Sellafield site and the scale of operations there.
Luke’s week was then split between the KAEFER Westlakes office and virtual meetings with management, where he learnt about how a commercial department operates and all the roles within it. “Luke talked to apprentices and graduates about their careers and discussed the pro and cons of their chosen career routes,” said Elizabeth.
Morgan spent the rest of his placement on site getting a first-hand experience of Project Management working alongside experienced KAEFER Project Managers (Gary Chandler & Jonny Hirst) along with Operations Manager Steve Simm. “Morgan visited projects, took part in meetings and gained background into the project management lifecycle.
The week concluded with the students giving a presentation about their experience to Darren, Elizabeth and Paul Hoyle, Divisional Director.
Morgan said: “Having a placement with a company like KAEFER gives you the experience of what it is like working in a big organisation while feeling like part of a family. It was great to have the experience of seeing what is involved in project management and understanding the processes. “
“I had a great time on Dream Placement at KAEFER,” said Luke. “I learnt about the various job roles and opportunities I didn’t know about beforehand. It was interesting to visit Sellafield site and get an understanding about the work KAEFER carry out on site and all of the financial aspects involved. Participating in the placement greatly improved my confidence and offered me experience in a professional environment opening my eyes to the wealth of opportunities on offer when I leave school.”