Why work experience is important

Posted by 4MAT Administrator
Posting date:1/31/2020 10:58 AM
03 February 2020

“Work experience has led me to my career in engineering. My university course focuses on sustainability and I hope to have a positive impact on the world.”

I’m Tom, Civils & Infrastructure degree apprentice at Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group. I recently did two consecutive years’ work placement with the Dams, Rivers and Maritime team in Woodcote Grove.
     
            

What I thought work experience would be like…

Working in an office delivering tea and seeing what people do.

What work experience at Atkins is really like!

Challenging work, every day the tasks you are given require real thinking and calculations. The tasks are based on previously completed project tasks. You’re then required to approach the same task to see how you would have done it differently, and then the engineer can explain the lessons they learnt from the project and what they did.

The best thing about my work experience with Atkins

The variety of work. I helped to calculate the electrical energy produced by an oil rig’s wave generator. I also investigated mesh protective screens to protect breeding eels near water intakes. I enjoyed the link to my prior geography knowledge, adding to the fun! 

My first impressions of the team at Atkins

Everyone was very professional and welcoming. As the week went on, I met more people who were more than happy to explain what they were working on, and were genuinely interested in what I was doing as an apprentice. 

How I was supported during my work experience

The main support was from the engineers around me. They showed me some serious constructions that they had been working on. As I relaxed into the week the team made time to discuss my personal aspirations and plans. They gave me real life tasks and took the time to talk to me and support me throughout my placement.

How I made a difference while on my placement

One impact for a sustainable future was my investigation into producing electricity through wave power. The open thinking mentor I worked with sparked an interest in sustainability and environmental conservation within me. More long term it has led to my future career in engineering. My university course focuses on sustainability and I hope to have a positive impact because of the lessons learnt through my mentor and university course!

What I admire about my colleagues at Atkins

During my work experience I met many people at Atkins, and I think I model myself on the best parts of all of them. I have admiration for the CAD team, for showing me to dedicate myself to one outcome, finding an efficient way to do everything and that it’s okay to learn and ask questions. 

Now I work for Atkins as part of the Degree Apprentice Scheme

Being part of the Apprentice community is supportive! We have early careers meetings once a month, and there have been a number of networking events such as the apprenticeship induction. It helped me settle in and get to know others in the same position as myself.

How I get the most out of working at Atkins

Ask questions, ask for more work. I ask plenty of questions to make sure I’m performing my daily tasks properly. And I actively seek work so that I can expand my knowledge and abilities. I love that I’m trusted with responsibility on so many different tasks. Thanks to flexible working I’m able to make sure I have enough time to stay on top of my research and university work!

Some tips about making a great impression at work:

Research the company’s projects and which department you’re truly       interested in working at.
Be professional and presentable.
A smile goes miles.

Find out how you can start your amazing future with us here.

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