Engineering students get chance at internship

Dutco Balfour Beatty partners with Heriot-Watt University on interns

Interns will get a chance to see real engineering first-hand (Omar Salem/AFP/Getty Images).
Interns will get a chance to see real engineering first-hand (Omar Salem/AFP/Getty Images).

An intern programme for emerging engineers is being developed by Dutco Balfour Beatty, working in partnership with Heriot-Watt University.

This is the first time the company has entered into a formalised intern arrangement with a university in Dubai.

“As an organisation we obviously gain from getting people involved during their education, as opposed to graduates,” said Martin Harper, commercial manager for Dutco Balfour Beatty.

“They can see how things work practically and obviously, if we take interns during their study period, we can have a look at the good students and perhaps offer post-graduate internships too. There's an opportunity there for both sides. It will give the student a general feel for construction and us the chance to have a good grad programme if things go well.”

The company’s chief engineer, Angelo Manesaro, will lead the programme, primarily because interns tend to come from engineering, rather than other built environment disciplines. Although the formalised agreement is a first, it’s not the first time the Dubai contractor has had engineering interns.

“1992 was the first time we brought some over,” said Manesaro. “A number of Emirati lads have demonstrated that they had more to learn from the practice than from the academic side. They always say ‘thank you, now I can understand what the books say’.

“The other thing we often find is the amount of bright ideas - construction and engineering is all made of ideas - innovation and an open bright mind work well in construction. The contribution they can give is pretty smart ideas, not just by shadowing, but by actually doing.”

A typical intern will become a deputy to an intermediate engineer, moving between roles every few weeks. The long-term aim is to help develop a sustainable local workforce.

“To obtain sustainable workforce it is hoped we can generate jobs for local students,” said Harper. “It won't happen over night, but it puts a foundation in place to build on.”

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