Jade Pang: My Summer with Murphy

We caught up with one of our student placements, Jade Pang, to hear all about her summer here.

The student from Liverpool University first came in contact with Murphy when she took part in a Constructionarium programme in Norfolk; organised by Murphy senior engineer Junley Chan. The week-long initiative saw Jade and fellow students build a scaled down version of London’s Gherkin building, giving them a ‘hands-on’ construction experience where they could apply academic knowledge.

Jade (right) and other students working on the mini-Gherkin structure

“Junley said that I showed great qualities like a willingness to take on any task”, recalls Jade, “I would volunteer to take on extra jobs and I think that gave a really good impression. Alistair Smyth [Murphy engineering director] came to site on the final day of the programme and I was able to have a chat with him where he offered me the opportunity to take a summer placement with Murphy.”

Jade talking with Alistair Smyth

After successfully passing a more formal interview process Jade did indeed take up a summer placement, joining up with experienced Murphy project manager Kevin Mullan and his team on the Woodmansterne to Purley water main pipeline project in South London.

Talking about Jade’s arrival on site Kevin said, “Jade made it clear when she started that she wanted to be exposed to as many elements of day to day engineering as possible. I reassured her we wanted her on site learning and not stuck inside in the office doing admin!”

On speaking further with Kevin, it is perhaps not difficult to see why he was keen to encourage Jade’s practical learning, “Many years ago I was a student engineer with Murphy and found it was the practical exposure that drove my interest and inspired me to want to work for Murphy after university.”

Jade progressed quickly and within a few weeks was trusted to complete tasks independently.

“She would go out on her own to support our site teams” Kevin said, “and they started feeding back positively on her capability and the good questions she was asking about their work. Jade was a really great addition to the team and I’d love to see her join Murphy as a graduate as she’d be a great addition to our company!”

Kevin Mullan on site at the Woodmansterne to Purley project

It wasn’t just on site where Jade made her mark. She also impressed off-site when she helped to engage an even younger generation of potential engineers in construction at the Sutton ‘Big Bang’ day. ‘Big Bang’ events see engineers and scientists talk with school students about what they do, demonstrate equipment and help them understand the industries through mini-games and tasks.

Jade at the Sutton 'Big Bang' event with Maria Pullen

Murphy customer care manager, Rachel Groves, who organised Murphy’s involvement in the day along with Jade and quality manager Maria Pullen said: “Jade was a great help at the Big Bang. She engaged brilliantly with the students on the day and was happy to approach children to discuss their thoughts about considering a future career in construction.”

Jade engaging with school children at the Sutton 'Big Bang' event

On site Jade become an integral part of the project, journeying daily across different work sites situated on the pipeline route. With four kilometres of pipe-line crossing through fields and farmland, almost three kilometres through urban roads and 34 archaeological dig locations there was a lot to take in.

Jade said, “I really enjoyed the freedom and range of tasks I was given. Murphy was very generous providing me with the tools and equipment I needed to gain as much from this experience as possible. I had my own van which allowed me to visit sites whenever and watch the whole production of the pipe laying. The best part was being able to chat to the lads on site and not only learn from them but get to know them”

Everyone tried to expose me to as much of the works as possible and get me involved. I was taught how to survey and record coordinates using the GPS, use AutoCAD in a practical environment and even helped to redesign a section of the route. Kevin also put me forward to gain my CSCS qualification; everyone on site really wanted to encourage me to expand my qualifications and skills.”

It’s not just practical skills that Jade learnt on the job though, talking animatedly about her evolved understanding and appreciation of civil engineering.

“Before starting this placement I only saw civil engineering as designing and building structures and all the calculations which comes with that. I didn’t know about the whole utility sector that comes under civil engineering nor much of the contracting side of it!”

Measuring on site on the Woodmansterne to Purley project

So what did an average day on site look like for a placement student at Murphy like Jade?

“Generally in the morning I would give inductions to new workers on site, then head out to the fields and stakeout the centre line and fence line, mark them with a peg and spray paint them in the relevant colour. Then I’d go out to the road sections and use the GPS to survey the pipe collar, trench line and underground services. Later in the day I’d then plot the coordinates on the ‘As Built’ on AutoCAD to show the new pipe line.”

Jade places heavy emphasis on how she was pleasantly surprised by how involved and trusted she quickly became on bigger tasks on the project.

From day one I was out on site and involved in the action. What surprised me most is the amount of responsibilities and genuine tasks that I was trusted to do which meant I quickly became very invested in the project. I am looking forward to hearing about its completion in March next year!”

Watch Jade's interview

Jade, who is completing her final year in a degree in architectural engineering, worked for ten weeks on the project for Sutton and East Surrey which involved designing and laying almost seven kilometres of 450 millimetre diameter pipeline from Chipstead to Purley. 

Want to walk in Jade’s shoes? Murphy is constantly looking to engage with talented young engineers and operatives, making sure we nurture the talent of the future. If you are interested in applying for a placement with Murphy, please visit www.murphyearlycareers.com for more information

Posted 04 October 2018

People, Projects, Meet Murphy, Graduates, Pipelines, Water

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