It takes two - proving placements are a two-way street in Scotland

Wednesday 4 September

 West Register

A senior project manager from ISG’s UK Construction Scotland team and one of his mentor-ees are proving that everyone benefits from work experience placements as they prepare for another year working together.

David Johnstone and Katie Whitelaw have worked together since November 2018 as part of a mentor scheme at Heriot-Watt University. David has shared his expertise as part of mentoring schemes twice before, but this time the days turned into weeks turned into months and will soon be a year, and both parties are still learning as they go along.

21-year-old Katie is studying Construction Management and took on a day-a-week placement at our West Register Street project in Edinburgh back in February as part of the University’s CEMENT (culture of External MENToring) programme. 

Over the course of four months, the Edinburgh native joined the site team to get some hands-on experience and learn the ropes on the complex project.

She enjoyed her time with ISG so much Katie then spent the summer supporting the site every day, including being heavily involved in preparing the project for handover and learning the importance of talking about mental health in construction.

Now, Katie has returned to her studies but is still planning a day a week on site until she graduates. After that, she’s hopeful that her planned application for our Graduate Scheme will be successful when the time comes.

Katie said: “This placement has been absolutely amazing and I’m so pleased to be able to continue while I finish my Degree. From the get-go it’s been fascinating to see how the modules I’m studying at University translate into real life projects – it’s been invaluable in developing my understanding and getting to grips with sometimes complex situations.

Katie has benefited from working with a dynamic, experienced construction team but David has also enjoyed having an additional member of the team to come up with fresh ideas and give a different perspective.

David said: “Placements like Katie are what it’s all about – you get what you put into opportunities like this and Katie has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. She’s been engaged, she’s listened, she’s gotten involved at every step and has been a joy to work with.

“She’s always asking if anyone needs any help and her knowledge has really built while she’s been here. I’ve been delighted to welcome her back over the summer and even more so for her placement to continue while she finishes her studies.

“More than this though, we’ve all really benefited from having such an enthusiastic member of the team join us and want to hear about what we do.”

Property developer Chris Stewart Group awarded ISG the contract for the multi-million-pound project back in 2017, with the win making headlines in leading Scottish publication, The Scotsman, at the time.