Get the show on the road

Get the show on the road

Civil engineering is a rewarding but challenging job with lots of pressure. If you have a taste for the outdoors, it is a definite plus in this profession

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Chiu Kam-kuen is a student at the Construction Industry Council Training Academy (Kowloon Bay Training Centre).
Chiu Kam-kuen is a student at the Construction Industry Council Training Academy (Kowloon Bay Training Centre).
Photo: May Tse/SCMP
Chiu Kam-kuen has always had an interest in construction because his father works in the industry. After finishing Form Seven, he applied to the Construction Industry Council (CIC) to study for a Diploma in Civil Supervision Course.

Get started:

The two-year training provided by CIC will teach me how to build tunnels, roads and bridges. I will learn about theories in building procedures, such as bar-bending and concrete reinforcement painting. I will also get to do some practical training.

I have joined the Contractor Sponsorship Training Scheme and will start as an apprentice after graduation. I will spend another two years studying part-time for a higher diploma while working full-time for a contractor.

Moving up:

After getting a higher diploma in civil engineering supervision, you are ready to move up to be an assistant engineer. Assistant engineers can go on to study for a higher degree and qualify to become chartered civil engineers.

An engineer will be in charge of designing pieces of infrastructure and supervising workers to complete the project. One engineer is put in charge of a building part; for example, a bridge or a section of a road. They report to the project manager who oversees the entire building project.

Race to the top:

The technologies and methods used in civil engineering are always changing. A good engineer should be up to date with the latest developments in the industry.

Engineers also need to be flexible and open-minded to make use of the most efficient construction methods to complete a project on time.

Meeting deadlines places huge pressure on an engineer during a project. There can be many unexpected obstacles, like bad weather or a lack of qualified workers.

An engineer has to be patient and able to come up with solutions to the challenges they are facing.

Civil engineering is an outdoor job. Some engineers spend most of their time in remote areas in the mountains. You have to learn to appreciate nature.

Rewards and benefits:

An apprentice makes HK$10,000 to HK$12,000 a month. Assistant engineers can earn up to HK$16,000.

A day at work:

Work at construction sites starts at 8am and finishes at 6pm.

Engineers usually work six days a week and rest on Sunday. Every morning, they will attend a warm-up exercise with all the workers on the site. Then they deal with any paperwork.

Every day materials are delivered to the construction site, and the engineers have to keep track of the receipts and ensure that the correct materials are being delivered.

They spend most of the time on the construction site, inspecting and monitoring the progress of a building project.

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