However, Mr Leslie, who has more than 40 years industry experience and is a chartered construction manager, wants to see companies commit to taking on students at an earlier stage in their academic careers.
He said: “The construction industry cannot sit back and wait for government initiatives to address the lack of skills it is facing. The industry must engage with universities to highlight the opportunities available to students and offering placements early in their course can provide the necessary balance between theory and practice which will result in graduates who can add value to a company immediately.”
Patrycja, who is working on a complex needs school project in Aberdeen, said: “Everything I am learning on this placement is so inspiring to me. It is amazing that finally I can see how it is all getting done in practice, not only in books.
“It is great opportunity that I am able to approach anyone on site and ask them questions and put my university knowledge into practice - they are two different worlds.
“This placement will definitely help in my future career - I learn so much every day that I would never be able to know only form the book. The ability to interact with the subcontractors and to see how everything works is something that you can achieve only by working on site.
“I feel very valued and appreciated and I am giving 100% because after the experience that I have had already, I am sure that construction is the right choice for me as a future career.”
As a trainee site manager, Patrycja is taking part in progress meetings with subcontractors and is responsible for quality control on the work being carried out. She is also providing a link between the project manager and staff working on site.
She said: “This is the way for students to get experience as it ensure that after leaving university we already have some practical experience which makes us more valuable. Any stage is good to start building that experience, but in my opinion the sooner the better as it allows more time to expand that knowledge before finishing university.”
Iain Loose, Business Development Director at Ogilvie Construction Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be working with RGU to take on placement students such as Patrycja who are at an early stage in their studies as we can see the benefits for both the students and the industry.
“Contributing towards the development of a new generation of skilled workers is vital to tackling the skills shortage facing the industry at the moment. Placements assist the student with practical skills and builds on their general knowledge of construction, which in turn aids them with career choices and prospects, enabling them to make informed decisions.”