An Insight from John F Hunt’s Graduate Engineer – Gurpreet Singh

6th October 2020

I started with John F Hunt in the summer of 2018 after my first year of University, this was my first “proper” summer placement and I was immediately exposed to a very interesting project – the dismantling of 4 large gantry cranes at the Willesden Euro Terminal site for HS2.

Although the project was still in the planning and mobilisation stage, I was given key responsibilities and constantly encouraged to push myself beyond my boundaries which helped me gain confidence in myself and an understanding of the contracting environment. I worked in close proximity with the client and project teams from several other surrounding projects who were also working on similar HS2 enabling packages and learnt a significant amount as a result of this.

Since then, I have had the privilege of working two more summers with John F Hunt, both of which were in central London locations and very complex, high-profile projects. In 2019 I worked on the demolition of the Welbeck Street/Marylebone Lane Hotel project, which included the floor by floor demolition of the existing building, whilst simultaneously planning for the basement and reinforced concrete frame construction. On this project I learnt a lot about the complex logistics, demolition methodology, and planning for the construction phase – all of which I had contributed to in one way or another.

I graduated in the summer of 2020 and was planning to start work at John F Hunt the same way I had done in past years, but due to the Coronavirus pandemic I was wondering whether I would have any chance to work at all before I started my masters year. After the lockdown eased and things began to go back to normal, I talked to our Technical Director, Davinder Reehal and was delighted that he was welcoming me back for a Graduate role!

This time I was working on the refurbishment/cut-carve of a Grade II listed building which is a stones’ throw from Monument station. This was the first project that I was the responsible engineer on site (although I was given plenty of guidance by the much-experienced Project Manager). I was given key responsibilities such as planning and directing the structural investigations of the building, for this I was liaising with the Client and their Structural Engineer to give them day-by-day updates to ensure everything went smoothly.

Due to my previous experience with the company, I was already familiar with the day-to-day activities such as document control and health and safety management, so the structural investigation side of the project was where I was making sure to take in as much as possible and learn as much as I could.

Coupled with the privilege of working with a brilliant Project Manager who mentored and guided me throughout, I was able to learn and contribute immensely in the six short weeks which is a timeframe that most graduates would take to settle into a role.

Throughout these summer placements, I have been in frequent contact with upper management, such as our Technical Director – Davinder Reehal. Davinder has been very proactive in welcoming interns and graduates within the company and is very knowledgeable in the engineering side of things, so he is always a pleasure to talk to and it is very reassuring to have him managing the graduates and interns.

Davinder also encourages all the graduates/interns to strive for Chartership as he did with myself and frequently arranges meet-ups and opportunities for professional development and career progression. The company as a whole is a very pleasurable company to work for and has very exciting projects to work on, and I look forward to possible future prospects with them after I finish my MSc in Civil Engineering at UCL!