Graham Dunn, 25, is a management trainee with RMC Aggregates.
Route to job
I graduated in 1997 with an honours degree in civil and structural engineering from Bath University. The degree was a thin sandwich course with two five- month industrial placements. I spent the first with DHV AID in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and the second with Ove Arup & Partners in Glasgow. After graduating I worked for 18 months as a graduate engineer in Buro Happold's London office. I then worked as a contract engineer for eight months, including three months in Dubai as project manager for a manufacturing contractor. I started on RMC's trainee management scheme in January.
I expected that a company of RMC's size would provide excellent management training and the chance to take on responsibility quickly. I anticipated a steep learning curve of general management skills within the first year, and that this would be backed up with extensive training and even a managerial qualification. I was told at the interview that to achieve the skills required I would be travelling a lot.
I started out on a two week intensive basic management training course, which included management styles, accountancy, sales and marketing, product and technical knowledge, health and safety issues, and lectures from senior managers. For the next six months I will be placed in three different operating companies throughout the UK, with a written exam at the end of each two month placement. The work is tiring with a lot of driving and living in hotels, but it is varied and every day is different, which is great.
RMC considers taking on any graduate with a couple of years' experience, not necessarily in construction. You need to be prepared to travel in the first six months, but the company provides a car and pays for accommodation and meals. The aim of the scheme is to create regional managers: the job is by no means nine to five and you have to be able to relate to all types of people, from plant operators to directors.