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Salvatore Vella

Age: 21, apprentice civil engineering technician, Bachy Soletanche, UK

Route to the job
I studied NVQ Level 2 in engineering at college and enjoyed it and wanted to pursue it as my chosen career. My local careers centre advised me on opportunities in the construction industry, but a bigger influence was my dad, who has worked within Bachy Soletanche for some years and has always praised the company on its high standards. As a student just entering the industry, I wanted to work for a company with a good reputation and good career opportunities. The company also offers good scope to work abroad. I'm currently halfway through a two-year NVQ Level 3 course at Bircham Newton's National Construction College, which will make me a civil engineering technician.

Typical day
You are always gaining experience and learning new things, meeting new people. The work I do is demanding, as I expected it to be, and at the same time enjoyable. It is always varied and not repetitive. We kicked off Bircham Newton with 12 weeks of theory at the College of West Anglia in which we covered maths, science, AutoCAD, environmental studies and design. Otherwise the course has been very practical and I've learnt about surveying and concrete. It's good experience as it prepares you for similar tasks that you are expected to do on site. I put this to great use back with Bachy Soletanche for work experience over the summer. I went to the T5 development at Heathrow, I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity. I was given responsibility of checking the cages for the piles, updating concrete records, liaising with the engineers to ensure piles are constructed to specification and helping with the levelling and setting out of the piles.

Highs and lows
I have been made welcome by everybody and I've already been handed a lot of responsibility which has been a great boost to my confidence.

Ambitions
I'm now in my second year and by next summer will have an NVQ Level 3 and a National Certificate Level 3 in civil engineering. After this I have the option to take an HND and then a degree. As far as my job is concerned I wish to become a fully qualified engineer and progress up the ladder.

Advice
I would strongly recommend getting involved in the construction industry - but you need to find a company like Bachy. Construction and the foundation sector have a lot to offer for those who are committed. It's very much a case of the more you put in, the more you get out.