Cheuk-Yin Cheung

Cheuk-Yin Cheung

From Hong Kong to Kier! Cheuk-Yin Cheung’s journey into the business, and the appeal of UK construction.

Interviewer: Harrison Bartlett

Everyone has moments in their career where they have to make big decisions. People have to decide how to run a project, whether to move to a new role, or even whether they should change industries altogether. But one of the biggest must be whether to move away from your home country to pursue an opportunity elsewhere.

Cheuk-Yin Cheung is a graduate civil engineer in our Transportation business, and after meeting with Harrison Bartlett at our 2023 emerging talent welcome event, he was keen to tell his story.

I was fortunate enough to recently attend our emerging talent welcome and celebration event, which congratulates our finishing graduates and welcomes the new cohort of degree apprentices, placement students, and graduates. On the first evening I met Cheuk-Yin, an engineering graduate from Hong Kong, who talked to about his experience of studying and working in the UK and how he’s finding his role at Kier.

Cheuk-Yin moved to the UK around 10 years ago to study Civil Engineering at the University of Nottingham. After graduating from Nottingham he carried out a masters in civil engineering at the University of Birmingham before joining Kier in June last year as a graduate civil engineer. “Learning through two university experiences has been great, and it definitely gave me a base of knowledge to then take into my role at Kier, which I am loving so far,” Cheuk-Yin said.

Our emerging talent event also provided Cheuk-Yin and his fellow colleagues the opportunity to meet and connect with each other and Kier’s senior leaders. “Having that event quite early in my time here at Kier was really helpful. Knowing that there were many others joining the business, and being able to speak with them, understand their roles and experiences was great,” he added.

The first introduction to the construction industry for Cheuk-Yin came from his family. “Both of my parents are building surveyors and many of their friends are builders. I was interested in building but soon realised that manual construction wasn’t my jam, and I was more interested in the structure of works and the engineering side, which I’m now doing at Kier,” he said.

“I’ve always liked the working environment and style of the United Kingdom and whilst there are some huge engineering attractions to working in Hong Kong, I have always been interested in working overseas and was excited to see the opportunities that construction in the UK can provide,” Cheuk-Yin said.

He continued to say that in Hong Kong, there is the benefit of an on average higher salary, and the opportunity to work on more projects such as high-rise buildings “they’re an engineer’s dream!” he added. “Working on buildings that are 60 or 70 floors high in Hong Kong would be a great challenge and a dream for any engineer,” Cheuk-Yin said.

But for now, it’s the excitement of the opportunities that Kier and construction in the UK can provide Cheuk-Yin, and how he develops in his career as a graduate civil engineer, that attracts him.

At Kier, we do so much. With projects ranging from flagship healthcare developments to large-scale rail projects, local road maintenance and so much more “In Hong Kong, with it being a big city, there is quite limited space to operate as a construction business – it meant that the projects I could’ve been working on at the time wouldn’t have a lot of variety, and it didn’t interest me too much,” Cheuk-Yin said. He continued by adding, “Kier and the UK is different, and I’m working somewhere that values my progression as a graduate, and I know it’s a business where there will always be opportunities to do more, take on new things and try different ways of working because of the range of sectors we operate in.”

Cheuk-Yin is now at the beginning of an exciting journey with us at Kier, and one that he’s certainly enjoying. In his day-to-day role, he spends time creating computer aided design (CAD) drawings, as well as staying on top of project progress. “I think there’s a real feeling of pride in my role, knowing that as an engineer, we can be relied upon to come up with technical solutions – it’s great to walk past a project and know how much we’ve contributed to making it happen,” he said.

Cheuk-Yin also explained further details about our graduate scheme, telling me how he has had the opportunity to enrol with a professional body, The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), and gain new knowledge that will support him in his day-to-day role.

“Kier has been such a supportive employer for me, with the opportunities to learn more, the healthy work life balance and supportive benefits, it’s all brilliant,” Cheuk-Yin said. In terms of what’s next, he intends on continuing to develop his career in the UK and complete his graduate scheme with us, and we’re so excited to see where his journey takes him!

The construction industry is filled with exciting opportunities, and this March you’ll have the opportunity to take a peek behind the hoardings at an Open Doors event. It’s a brilliant opportunity to learn more about how our sites operate and give you a taste for what a career in construction could look like for you. Make sure you get involved, and if you like what you see, check out our current vacancies or sign up to our talent communities so you’ll always be on our radar.

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