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Reflective Essay on Construction Management and Employment Skills

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Personal Development
Wordcount: 5525 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Professional development is a quintessential part of all working careers, as it allows a person to understand how they have developed throughout their career and also how to plan long-term and short-goals in order to achieve the next steps in their personal and professional life (Boarddeveloper.com, 2018). This report will explain how the completion of a number of task throughout the module have developed an increased knowledge of how to personally develop over the course of a career. Personal Development Planning (PDP) is essential to engineers as without keeping records of PDP you cannot become a charted engineer, this is due to the institutions requiring to understand that you are a exemplary engineer.

Personal Development Action Plan

Shown in the table is a plan of action showing how the use of various development tasks and opportunities can help a undergraduate Engineer increase knowledge and understanding of the skills required by employers to become a successful Engineer. Also included are how professional skills have been developed throughout the module refer to appendix 1 and 2.




I have many attributes the first of which is my team working ability as I have to work with colleagues from different areas of the company who will have their own skills and knowledge within their specific area and this will strengthen our team dynamics. This is associated with communication as I will be required to communicate with other professional directly through face to face interactions in progress update meeting and indirectly by email or telephone with individuals in different areas of the business to achieve a common goal. Furthermore I may be required to communicate with members of the public to create a positive public relationship so members with the local community accept the construction works. I also consider myself to be a perfections therefore i will ensure that each task is conducted to the highest level possible and that exceptional results are achieved. 



Areas that I consider to be a weakness and feel that I need to improve would be my confidence while public speaking. This is a key area as I must persuade clients to invest in our service not one of our competitors. Therefore to achieve this I feel I need to improve my eye contact while presenting. To maintain eye contact with the people who I am presenting to instead of looking at prompting cards or reading directly from the presentation. I must also maintain a positive and professional posture to show that I am engaged in the situation and again this will reflect my own self confidence. 

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I would also like to continually develop my engineering knowledge by revising prior knowledge and actively researching new engineering development including methods of planning and I would like to achieve this by setting and exceeding personal goals. Therefore in order to achieve this I would like to take a leadership role while addressing any problematic issues and this will help encourage my confidence in suggesting solutions to grow and to consider numerous solutions while considering their effects and selecting the best solution for that particular problem. I’m addition to this I believe actively monitoring issues and new developments worldwide will provide me which sufficient commercial awareness. 

After Implementation of Personal Development Plans



After the completion of several personal development activities it is clear a vast number of my weakness have transpired into strengths. Firstly I attended a networking event where I was given the opportunity to visit different engineering stands and I was able to gain an insight on what these different engineering sector were related to the engineering industry. Furthermore I was granted the opportunity to ask any question in areas that I felt my knowledge was not at its strongest. Furthermore, though conversing with these professional from different sectors of the engineering industry enabled me to grow my industry specific terminology and I was interested in gaining some real-life industry experience so I had present myself in a professional approach so these worldwide company would be impressed with my eagerness to develop.

Moreover, I believe that the elevator pitch improved my presentation skills as I rehearsed my pitch so when it was finally delivered to professional bodies they would notice that I have spent time and effort perfecting it so hopefully I would stand high above my competitors. Therefore, I focused my attention on improving eye contact to keep the audience engaged, clearly communicating my ideas and though on what I would bring to the project.

I was also required to produce a CV which was reviewed by a charted engineer who provided feedback on areas for development, refer to appendix 3, which I then amended to include their suggestions on how to make my CV more appealing to employers. Such areas included; adding a personal statement as a main heading, removing irreverent information to make the length of the CV more applicable and finally add two references at the end who can provide an unbiased review of myself. By including these improvements it has extended my current knowledge on professional communication and commercial awareness by having my CV critiqued by a professional who currently assesses if applicants should be considered for the job position.

Another personal development activity which I undertook was a Nissan practice assessment centre where I was required to solve a survival situation. I had to use teamworking skills as all member of the group had to agree upon the final decision. Furthermore we had to use processes of elimination to eliminate factors which were not relevant and how you methodically eliminated potential solutions until the best solution was agreed upon. This activity has given me commercial awareness as prior to the activity I was not aware that this form of personal development existed.


Within the elevation pitch I still feel I need to focus attention on controlling my nerves while presenting to professional as I felt at certain points it was obvious as the tone of my voice changed along with my breathing and occasional my pace would quicken. Moreover I also feel that I need to improve with elements associated with networking events as when conversing with these professional I still thought that my industry knowledge was limited in some areas as I have little experience with contacting organisation within the industry as I have not yet obtain any real-life industry experience.


As a engineer confidence has a huge impact on how you are seen by others in working conditions. If zero confidence is displayed then it can be hard for people to accept your expertise(Markman, 2018). Furthermore it is essential that I project my own self confidence to our clients and workforce to ensure that clients have trust that the company who they are investing their money in are experts within the field by reinforcing that the project will run successfully and to the timescale stated otherwise this could have drastic consequences not only on my own reputation amongst colleagues and other professionals within the field but it can also have a destructive affect the organisation as a whole as their reputation can be shattered potential resulting in reduced custom.

In this module a questionnaire was set in order to gauge how confident you would be with the course material and to understand your level of knowledge on the subjects. Having taken the test the result were positive but it advised that revision should still be undertaken to full understand the course material. The test was then redone after the module was complete and the results were marginally as I had developed my knowledge on the subjects once they had been covered during the lectures, however I will still keep on revising the topics to keep the information updated and relevant.

Ethical Behaviour

Throughout the entirety of a professional career in engineering, having exemplary ethical behaviour is a must in order to maintain a high level of integrity and respect from employees, colleagues and clients. The Oxford Dictionary defines ethics as “Moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity” (Oxford Dictionaries | English, 2018). However all organisation have a corporate social responsibility and this can be defined as the “recognition that organisations need to take account of the social and ethical impact of their business decisions on the wider environment in which they compete” (Henry, 2011)

In order to understand what is expected of a engineer in terms of ethical behaviour the Royal Academy of Engineering have produce four key aspects that must be followed in order to remain ethical they include; honesty and integrity, respect for life, law, the environment and public good, accuracy and rigour and finally leadership and communication Statement of Ethical Principles for the engineering profession, 2018).

Honesty and Integrity

Engineers must always remain honest with everyone that they interact with during their career this includes clients, employers and colleagues. To be a honest engineer it means to never attempt to lie or deceive a person for any reason, As well as disclosing anyone that is lying or deceiving during your career (Theiet.org, 2018). A second aspect of honesty is to announce whether you or a colleague has any conflict of interest to towards the outcome of a project, as it could cloud any judgement good or bad, this can directly correlate to the third point of dismissing any attempt of bribery or pressure to fix a aspect of project for ill-gotten gains (Statement of Ethical Principles for the engineering profession, 2018).

Respect for life, law, the environment and public good


Laws and regulations are set in order to safe guard engineers, clients, the public and the environment from internal and external harm. Therefore it is the duty of the engineer to keep yourself and others within the laws set to remain safe in all stages of construction projects from design through to completion. Likewise to report any act that is breaking any codes of conduct with regards to health and safety.

Accuracy and rigour


Linking in with the previous part of following laws and regulations is having a sense of accuracy and rigour. This means that all designs must match with what is being constructed on site, as well as constantly keep your own engineer skills update with all legal practises. Acting with good intentions towards colleagues and clients, together with providing knowledge and understanding to others that require help. Furthermore reducing or hopefully eliminating risks at the design stage if possible to protect contractors, subcontractors, clients and the public when constructing or using the building.

Leadership and Communication


Furthermore, “engineering professionals have a duty to abide and promote high standards of leadership and communication” (Statement of Ethical Principles for the engineering profession, 2018) therefore it is imperative that core elements of the Equality Act 2010 are upheld as to ensure inclusion and ensure that no employee or colleague feels as though they have been unjustly discriminated against on the grounds of characteristics which are protected under the act. This includes the organisation having an obligation to ensure that they encourage diversity amongst their workforce.

Moreover, it is paramount that engineers are observant and identify any problems which may arise or are voiced by members within the local community and wider population in regards to any developments which may cause concern for any members of the public such as noise pollution, air pollution  (O. Coker, 2018) and that this is address promptly and professional to halt any negative attitudes or feelings regarding the project. In connection to this engineering professionals also have a ethical responsibility to identify, voice concern and challenge any statements or policies that may incur public repercussions (Suny Empire State College, 2018). 


1.Personal Development Action Plan

Review of Learning Needs

Development Plan

SSE Person Specification

In what area do I need to improve

How does this link to other objectives (find placement, Group Project module, study/ work responsibilities, career advancement etc.)

What do I need to learn or experience in order to achieve this?

What will I do to achieve this?

What are the likely support and resources that I will need?

What evidence will need to be collected?

How will I evaluate a successful outcome?

Deadlines for meeting this


Project Management and Planning.




Increasing technical engineering knowledge.

Understanding methods of planning.

How to plan effectively for projects and on personal level with goal setting.

Planning allows understanding of how to advance in chosen career.

Pursuing a placement in project management.

Studying Modules in management.

How to manage aspects of a project.

Understanding how to effectively communication with colleagues.

Industry placement to expand on knowledge of live construction.

Increase Engineering knowledge from lectures.

Receive  a high mark in my Group Project and Construction Management modules

Apply for an placement  in Project Management

Set long and short term Goals to improve planning

A good CV to gain a placement.

Teachings by lectures on Project


External Readings from Books and Online Material at the University library.

A high mark in Group Project and Construction Management Modules.

Successfully gain a placement year in industry.

Be able answer technical engineering questions with ease or little help.

End of Second Year at University.

Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills



Keep eye contact at all times when communicating with others.

Be more involved in discussions and not take a back seat role.

Use hand signs effectively and do not fidget. 

Taking part in interviews will require good interpersonal skills.

Teamwork will be a constant presence throughout a engineering career.

Experiencing high pressure situations like interviews will increase confidence and interpersonal skills.

Working in group projects will help to understand how to work as a effective team member.

Take part in mock interviews and make good use of the elevator pitch will help with eye contact and use of hand as a positive body language.

Take a more forward role during group project module. 

Practice opportunities to work in teams.

Appraisals from interviews that I have performed well in interviews.

Positive feedback for the elevator pitch by a reputable employee.

Team members that are happy with involvement during project.

End of 2nd year and after employment is gained in the engineering sector.

Application of knowledge

Revising on knowledge that has become vague from past modules.

Find more opportunities to apply current knowledge.

Knowledge of Engineering will apply to every aspect of my career from now until becoming a experienced engineer.

Taking exams to ensure I can apply learnt knowledge

Experiencing engineering problems and how to design for projects.

Use mock exams to ensure, knowledge learnt can be successfully applied in real exams and real life engineering problems.

Gain a placement to make sure knowledge is expanding all of the time.

Using revision tools such as blackboard information put on by lecturers.

Help by colleagues during work to ensure knowledge is increasing and being used correctly. 

Passing exams with high marks of 60%+.

Positive feedback by employees, employers and lecturers on work.

End of University

Completion of first task in a construction project.

Problem Solving

Becoming more confident with suggested solutions.

Being able to rank multiple solutions from best to worst and why.

The application of knowledge will allow me to understand why solutions are good and bad.

Improving interpersonally will help with becoming more confident with solutions.

Constantly expand learning of engineering to be able to improve solution when solving problems.

Apply maths skills to Civil Engineering problems given in tutorials by Dr. Ramegowda.

During group project assess solutions to the given problem based on how good or bad they are to solving the problem.

The solutions to the maths problems being made available on blackboard to compare with the attempted solution to see if correct.

Positive feedback on the group project for problem being solved with simple and effective solutions.

Solution to maths problem appearing correct after comparing with online notes.

After every Tuesday Maths tutorial.

Completion of group project.

Commercial Awareness

Keeping updated on the goings on in the real world of construction.

Understanding what employers are looking for in an engineer.

Knowing the skills that employers are looking for will help to gain a placement and a job after graduation.

This module will help me to understand how employers think.

Reading employers needs through job adverts and by getting my CV reviewed.

Have my CV reviewed by a charted engineer to see what they think makes a engineer employable.

Read articles in engineering magazines and online publications such as ICE and New Civil Engineer to find out what is happening in the engineering world. 

Contact Information for a charted engineer.

A ICE student membership to have access to online publications.

Successfully gain feedback on my CV.

Being able to use examples of current engineering projects in assignments.

Week 7 of current semester.

Professional Communication

How to act during professional exams such as interviews and assessment centres.

Using interpersonal skills in an  appropriate   manner to communicate with in the workplace.

Understand how to act professionally within a workplace environment.

Experience a workplace environment through a placement.

Attending a practice assessment centre to receive feedback on how to act within a professional workplace.

Nissan practice assessment centre in week  7.

Attend Networking evening.

Receiving feedback from the examiners of Nissan to understand how assessment centres work.

Week 7 of this module

Health and Safety Awareness

Learning to minimise and eliminate hazards /risks in design stage of projects.

Health and safety should always be a top priority to a successful engineer.

Gain a understanding of health and safety through university modules, such as Construction Management. As well as through working on real project in a placement year.

Revise construction law such as CDM regulations and health and safety work act.

Confer with more experienced engineers on how to be health and safety conscious during all stages of a project.

Lectures notes and online publications from the HSE.

Being able to produce risk assessments for a construction project. Ensuring design meet health and Safety standards.

After gaining 10 years+ experience as a Engineer.

Leadership, initiative, creativity

Taking a leader like role during projects.

Having unique design ideas during construction problems.

Having good leadership qualities can help with being employed by an employer.

Giving group projects a positive direction with organisation and leadership.

How to be an effective leader without over stepping.

Simple knowledge in order to create more complex ideas.

Take a leader role in both the group project and the assessment centre.

Carry on updating knowledge in order to have more creative ideas.

Nissan practice assessment centre in week  7.

Degree teachings to understand knowledge of engineering solutions.

Completion of group project.

Making sure everyone knows their role within the project.

Completion of group project.

Completion of assessment centre.

2.Personal Development Plan (PDP)



Development Activity


Details of PDP activity

Development Action Plan Ref

SSE Person Specification

Key learning points

Key benefits/ value added to my skill set

Was the plan successful? Is further development needed?

Attended a networking event. Where representatives of different companies could be asked questions and also provide experience of their work as a engineer.

A resource used to increase professional communication.

Professional communication

Commercial Awareness

Interpersonal Skills

Before arriving pre-prepare questions as minimal amount of time.

Great way of meeting professional engineers to gain contacts in industry.

First impression will last.

Making contacts in the industry. A engineer wrote my name down when asking about if there were any summer programs or placement years available.

Becoming more confident when place in a professional working situation.

Yes in parts, although large group present so communication was sometimes limited.

Further development required in form of mock interviews and more industry contacted.

CV reviewed by a charted engineer/Peer.

A good CV is required to gain a Placement.

Project Management and planning

Commercial Awareness

Professional Communication

CV needs to no more than two pages long.

Personal statement should be moved to the top.

Need to add references, to be  ‘Available of request’

Understand the industry standard on how to set out a CV.

Created a contact within the industry.

Can improve CV in order to improve first impressions.

I have found ways to improve my CV so that I may become a successful candidate in the near future.

To develop further I can now update my CV with the appropriate recommendations.

Produced a one minute elevator pitch selling myself to a potential employer.

Using this activity to finely tune the use of positive body language.

To become more confident during presentations.

Interpersonal Skills

Professional communication

Fantastic activity to advance interpersonal skills as it puts you in a high pressure situation where nerves can affect performance.

Still have to remember to speak clearly and keep good eye contact.

More opportunity to be placed into a high pressure situation.

Understanding how body language can affect first impressions.

Yes in terms of knowledge gained in how to act during a high pressure situation.

Still must learn to keep calm and control my voice, as well keep eye contact and trying not to look at the floor.

Completed a Nissan practice assessment centre. Whereby we were place into teams and ask to come up with the solution to a survival situation.

Used as a method of improving professional communication.

Can also improve teamwork skills and being able to solve problems effectively.

Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills

Professional communication

Problem Solving

Commercial Awareness

Let everyone in the team convey their ideas but remember to agree on a final solution as soon as possible.

Set time limits for certain parts of the project to stop delays from occurring and to prevent the team from running out of time.

Appoint a team leader so that roles can be handed out quickly and effectively.

Learning how assessment centres work with in candidate selection. How to act professionally during a assessment centre.

Understanding that key decision need to be made quickly but with good reasoning and support arguments.

Realising that there are no wrong answers in assessment centre as long as you can back them up with good logical arguments.

I now know how assessment centres work if I was to be invited to one as part of a job interview.

Increasing commercial awareness of the options that Nissan provide for employment.

Improvements can be made by keep close eye on the time limits and setting time constraints for certain decisions to be made.


  • Boarddeveloper.com. (2018). Importance of individual Development Planning. [online] Available at: http://boarddeveloper.com/benefits-of-personal-development-planning/ [Accessed 25 Nov. 2018].
  • Henry, A. (2011). Understanding strategic management. 2nd ed. Oxford.
  • Markman, A. (2018). How does confidence affect trust in recommendations?. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/ulterior-motives/201004/how-does-confidence-affect-trust-in-recommendations [Accessed 9 Dec. 2018].
  • O. Coker, A. (2018). ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION: TYPES, CAUSES, IMPACTS AND MANAGEMENT FOR THE HEALTH AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC WELL-BEING OF NIGERIA. [online] pp.2, 14-16. Available at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8e7b/a9595bab30d7ea87715533353c53f7452811.pdf [Accessed 9 Dec. 2018].
  • Oxford Dictionaries | English. (2018). ethics | Definition of ethics in English by Oxford Dictionaries. [online] Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/ethics [Accessed 9 Dec. 2018].
  • STATEMENT OF ETHICAL PRINCIPLES for the engineering profession. (2018). 1st ed. [ebook] ENGINEERING COUNCIL ROYAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING, p.2. Available at: https://www.engc.org.uk/media/2337/statement-of-ethical-principles-2014.pdf [Accessed 9 Dec. 2018].
  • STATEMENT OF ETHICAL PRINCIPLES for the engineering profession. (2018). [ebook] Royal Academy of Engineering, p.2. Available at: https://www.engc.org.uk/media/2337/statement-of-ethical-principles-2014.pdf [Accessed 9 Dec. 2018].
  • Suny Empire State College. (2018). Ethical Responsibility. [online] Available at: https://www.esc.edu/global-learning-qualifications-framework/learning-domains/ethical-responsibility/ [Accessed 9 Dec. 2018].
  • Theiet.org. (2018). Honesty – The IET. [online] Available at: https://www.theiet.org/membership/career/ethics/values/honesty/index.cfm [Accessed 9 Dec. 2018].


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