Robert Clarke

Before you came to Brookes what did you study and where?

Btec National Diploma in Construction at Hastings College

What made you choose Brookes as a place to study?

My main reason for choosing Brookes was because of its recognised status for being amongst the front runners for degrees in the built environment.

What do/did you think of the course while studying here?

Although the choice of modules is limited due to so many of them being compulsory, there is a lot of variety in the course. The key success of this module is the year out placement; personally this year has been invaluable to my learning and motivation.

How did your scholarship or bursary enhance your experience of the course?

The bursary has helped so much to reduce the worry of bill/rent/books and travel costs which in turn has helped me focus more on my studies as opposed to worrying about where the next rent payment will come from.

What are the best bits of studying at Brookes?

Oxford city itself is a very lively student orientated place which is nice when taking a break from studying, but for me the best part of my four years is definitely the Placement year.

What advice do you have for others?

If you are not enrolled on a course which involves a placement, try your hardest to obtain some sort of work experience in the field which you are studying. Embrace the placement and endeavour to learn as much as you can from it. Also use it to make friends and contacts within the industry as their help could be the pivotal factor of achieving a successful future.

What are your plans for when you've completed your course, for work or further study?

After experiencing project developing first hand, I am keen to get out into the industry and start earning straight away after my final year.

Work placement

MacDonald Egan Developments, London

What do you think of the industrial placement aspect of your course?

In my own personal experience, the knowledge, understanding which I have received so far in my placement is truly invaluable. Not only has it helped my understanding of the construction and development industry, but it has also shown me a clear goal to aim for, and provided me with the enthusiasm, drive and motivation to make sure I get there.

Project description

I am involved in several projects, all of which are at different stages of the development process. The projects range from being in the early stages of planning, ranging right up to others nearing the end of construction. All of the projects are either residential or mixed use schemes, some still in the viability and site acquisition stages.

Student's responsibility on team

Research potential sites; Project manage sites; Review Drawings; Do site appraisals; Attend meetings; Organise meetings; Organise Public Consultations; Produce S106 documents such as Parking Management Plan; Tender for quotes; Review surveys and reports; Grant access on sites for surveyors; Create/Edit accommodation schedules; Coordinate, engage with and assist parties involved in our various developments such as: Structural engineers, Architects, Clients agents, Project Managers, Contractors, Sustainability Consultants, Rights of Light Consultants, Party Wall Surveyors, Planning Consultants, Mechanical and Electrical Consultants, Clients, Public.

Experience gained

Attended Committee meetings; Attended Site Meetings; Attended Pre Application Meetings; Attended Site Visits; Attended Public Consultations; Attended Design Meetings; Attended valuation meetings.

Training received

All training has been first hand experience through the sharing of knowledge and problem solving. Due to my two bosses dealing with every aspect of each of the different developments, I have been lucky enough to witness every issue and resolution that they have faced. I believe this has provided far greater benefits than being trained in one specific field, as my general knowledge about the whole construction and development process has been immeasurably strengthened.