Providing Learning and Growth Opportunities for Future Leaders

Jack Sweet
Whilst working on my bachelor’s degree in construction management in the UK, I sought a one-year internship with Faithful+Gould's Los Angeles office.

I grew up in Construction, working in my family's business every summer and holiday vacation, which led me to major in construction management. In my junior year, I realized that an internship would be beneficial and, given the economic climate, would increase my chances of finding a job upon graduation. Initially, I found an opportunity with Faithful+Gould in Arizona through university placement. I was not selected for that assignment, but I stayed in contact and that resulted in an internship at the Los Angeles office.

Having traveled to the US twice before, I was excited to live there. My family was happy for me, and we were able to keep in close contact through Skype. People in the office went out of their way to put me up and sort out everything I needed, from housing to transportation and even social events. I was involved in project pursuits, onsite client meetings and a range of projects in solar energy, oil and gas and transportation. I assisted with cost estimating for a project at Los Angeles International Airport and spent time in Arizona to learn about building solar towers for power generation.

I have realized the value of my internship many times over. In class, those of us who gained practical experience demonstrated a far more professional approach...

Working in the construction field provided affirmation that the construction field was the right choice for me. Every project presents a different challenge. You begin with an empty piece of ground and build something that will be there for years to come; it is satisfying to see a building or structure that you helped to create.

After nearly a year in the US, I began my final school year in the UK. I have realized the value of my internship many times over. In class, those of us who gained practical experience demonstrated a far more professional approach to our work with a solid work ethic. In working groups, we viewed assignments as real-life projects with budgets and deadlines and required real solutions. The internship program benefits the company when students, who are learning the latest technology and processes, bring innovative approaches and fresh perspective to the workplace.

Senior Vice President Dan Leng, who was my supervisor in the Los Angeles office, commented: "Internships provide a way for Faithful+Gould to have access to the next generation of professionals coming out of academia – to assess their capabilities, work ethic and general fit for the company. They usually bring heaps of enthusiasm to the tasks they are given and provide insight that only someone from the outside brings. In return, the intern gets to sample what it is like to work in the real world – how simple things like punctuality, dress, attitude and manner can mean as much as technical ability. On top of that, of course, there is the advantage of being able to apply dry academic theory to real world situations."

Dan continues, "The oil that has always lubricated the business world is networking (yes, it did happen before Facebook and LinkedIn!). Expanding Faithful+Gould’s profile at an early stage with the possible business leaders of the future is a strategy that will pay dividends in the long term. On a human level, the influx of young faces into the office is always a pleasure. Having interns from overseas, sometimes on their first extended trip abroad, is a learning experience for all of us."

I gained confidence in my ability to take on new challenges and look forward to working overseas in the future.

Leaving home for a year and setting up a new life in the US took away any fear factor. I learned that I can move to a new place and establish a life for myself. I enjoyed exploring new places and getting to know my co-workers. I found people in the US to be a lot more outspoken and animated - a big change from the UK! I gained confidence in my ability to take on new challenges and look forward to working overseas in the future.

John Rawlinson, director of project management and my supervisor in the UK, adds: "International placements are important to a company doing business worldwide, interns learn about cultural differences, use technology in different ways and experience how the company operates globally. The program also allows us to get to know the interns, learn their strengths and capabilities, and assist them as they embark on their final university year,this benefits our clients when graduates with experience in the latest technologies join Faithful+Gould already well-versed in our industry."

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