Stuart Whitelaw

Excelerate Graduate Engineer (2018 intake)

"Excelerate is a unique community of developing graduates which Sisk are pushing towards becoming the next leader within the business."

Studied at (university/ college): Heriot Watt University
Degree: Masters in Structural Engineering with Architecture Design

What attracted you to Sisk and the Excelerate programme?

My initial interaction with Sisk was at my Universities Careers Fair were I was introduced into the contractual side of construction. The information given to me about the opportunities to move around Europe, Ireland and the United Kingdom was very appealing. After being provided with the information about the structured workshops and the Development Program which Sisk provide to their Graduates I was extremely motivated to get my graduate position with Sisk.

In no more than 20 words explain what Excelerate is?

Excelerate is a unique community of developing graduates which Sisk are pushing towards becoming the next leader within the business.

How did you find the recruitment process?

The recruitment process was a bit daunting at first but after meeting my interviewer I was made comfortable which ultimately allowed me to portray my skills, experiences, values and self-motivation within the interview. The assessment centre is a great experience and will put your skills to the test. Through a number of exercises you get the opportunity to show how you work and support the skill set that you put across to Sisk through your interview. Although it is a long, tough day it is great to experience and allows you to meet the fellow Graduates that you could be working with.

How are you supported through the programme?

We are supported through numerous channels throughout the business. Firstly we are supported through the mentoring system. This is set up for you to have a senior personnel in the business which you can rely on throughout your time at Sisk to help with anything from your daily life to work which you are struggling with. I have a great Mentor who monthly catches up with me and is fully involved in my Excelerate journey. Secondly I have my ICE Supervising Civil Engineer who supports me throughout my Institute of Civil Engineers Chartership. Finally, there are many people with HR that help you with any issues you come across on your journey and even if they cannot help you they are more than happy to direct you in the right direction.

Tell me in your own words what your best experience has been on the Excelerate programme to date?

After only a year there has been some great experiences throughout my time. The best experience within both of my first to placements has been learning two totally different types of construction and been entrusted responsibilities within these projects.

My best experiences through Sisk though has definitely been meeting the other Graduates and all the great memories created from the induction week, workshops, placements and living with a fellow Graduate.

Please describe in summary what your day / week looks like in your current / most recent placement you’d like to share?

I have been used in a Quality Management role in conjunction with one of the Information System Manager. We created, managed, reviewed and taught how the works were going to be reviewed through our online data capturing system. So my weeks changed concurrently throughout my project from teaching workshops in the early stages to reviewing the photographs and quality of work in the later stages. The development of different activities keeps me focused and interested.

What have you found most challenging?

I know this maybe sound a little weird but the hardest part of my most recent job was understanding the construction language and the terms for the different structural elements. This was challenging as many different names were given to the same elements.

Any tips for future applicants?

Sisk are a great company which strive to push their Graduates to learn and experience as much of the industry as possible. Sisk look to the Graduates to become the next generation of leaders within the company and with that at the for front of their philosophy they invest a great deal of time into the development of their Graduates. So my tips to any future Graduates would be to apply early, think about your strength and weakness, research the Sisk Values and see if they correlate with your own and finally fully participate in the recruitment process.

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