Supporting the Next Generation: Industrial Placements at Jackson Coles

Working in partnership with the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment at Oxford Brookes University, last summer we were able to offer our first ever industrial placement “year out” to second year student Dom Stubbs, who joined us as an Assistant Project Manager. As Dom comes to the end of his placement and begins handing over his work, we asked him a few questions about how the year has gone.

You were our first ever industrial placement student, so we’ve been on a journey of discovery together in terms of how it would work. What were your own expectations prior to joining JC?

I was hoping my placement would provide a good insight into the real workings of the construction industry. I wanted to apply the learnings from my first two years at university and develop the relevant practical skills needed to become a Project Manager.

The experience has exceeded my expectations! I’ve massively expanded my understanding of the industry and PM role, gaining confidence and knowledge along the way.

What challenges have you learnt to overcome?

I think a constant challenge a PM faces is how to effectively communicate with different members of the project team.

During my placement year I’ve been fortunate to work on a wide range of different projects in various sectors including residential, retail, arts and office refurbishment. I’ve spent a lot of time on working as part of the team delivering a new-build super-prime residential project in the home counties, and I’m also currently working on an external lighting installation project for a South London theatre, where my contact is with the local council. As well as enriching my placement experience this variety has meant I’ve been working with very different personalities, and I’ve learnt to really think about how I can communicate in the best way and adapt my approach as needed.

How do you think your placement year will impact your final year at university?

I now have a catalogue of industrial experiences which I can apply to the ideas raised in lectures and seminars. Fortunately for me, my time at JC has exposed me to many of the key topics that are due to be covered in my final year’s curriculum, meaning I have a great head-start on the learning content.

What’s been your favourite moment?

Through a whole year of positive experiences, it’s hard to pin down a particular favourite moment! However, I’ve found completing a piece of work that I’ve been given sole responsibility to deliver has given me a real sense of achievement.

What’s next for Dom?

I’m delighted to say that I’ve accepted an offer to re-join Jackson Coles after I graduate. I’m really looking forward to my return when I hope to continue to apply my university learnings and develop my PM career. In the meantime, I’m planning a summer trip to travel through Europe before diving back into my final year at university. 

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