A spotlight on… Graduate Trainee Bilal
Today marks the start of National Careers Week – and Cora’s graduate trainee Bilal Malik has shared how his ‘invaluable experience’ with the team is helping his career prospects.
Bilal, 22, joined Cora in the summer of 2022 on a one-year graduate residency, as part of his BSc in Property Development at the University of Portsmouth.
Bilal, who grew up in Qatar, said he was inspired to join the industry after being awed by the megaprojects being built on the peninsula.
He said: “There were so many huge projects popping up everywhere and they really excited me. It was fascinating watching things from the very beginning through to completion.
“Because of that, I always knew construction was the industry I wanted to get into and that my passion would see me fit right in.”
Bilal returned to the UK to complete his A-levels and was quickly drawn to housebuilding. Having finished his second year, he approached Cora’s Managing Director, Luke Simmons, looking for a placement year opportunity.
“I wanted to gain experience from the best in the business,” he said. “It was really important to me to work with people who have a wealth of experience I could learn from.
“I arranged a call with Luke and immediately knew I wanted to come to Cora – especially because of their commitment to sustainable construction and combatting climate change.
“I told him about wanting to gain experience in all departments of the business and he was more than happy to take me on board for a one-year placement.”
Bilal has become a popular face in the team since joining Cora, spending six weeks with each department. He is now working at Cora’s Stoche Acre development in Stoke Golding, Leicestershire.
He added: “It has been really insightful working with the land, planning, commercial and technical teams so far.
“Having that experience and knowing all the processes that go on behind the scenes will really help me working on sites in future – especially on the commercial side of things.
“Their expertise has helped me understand the importance of procuring our labour and materials in accordance with the build budget, along with the commercial and sustainable elements of using MMC.
“Everyone at Cora has been so supportive and happy to answer any questions I’ve had. Working with Robbie Locke (Head of Planning and Strategic Land) was a great experience and has taught me so much about planning – something I hadn’t necessarily enjoyed in my studies.
“It was a similar experience working with Phil Garner (Engineering Manager) and Andy Gilliver (Technical Director) on the engineering elements on-site, from ground conditions to drainage strategies. Everyone has so much experience that they’re happy to share.”
Bilal said he is looking forward to a future in the industry once he finishes his final year of studies.
He said: “It has been a fantastic and invaluable experience so far. I know I want a career in the industry – although I’m yet to decide what specialism I’d like to develop as there are so many interesting roles in construction.
“After my placement finishes I’ll head back to uni and I’m excited to see what my future holds!”
More information on career opportunities at Cora can be found at www.cora.uk/about-us/careers.
For information and on advice the range of careers in the construction sector visit the Go Construct website at https://www.goconstruct.org/