When to do work experience?
Posting date:2/7/2020 1:18 PM
07 February 2020
“All my work experience gave me the chance to discover how I could apply my skills in a career and which engineering roles might suit me.”
Hello, I’m Rose, Graduate Civil Engineer at Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group. A short history of my life at Atkins: When I was 16 I did a two week placement in the Landscape and Master planning team. My second placement was in the same team at 17 during my A Levels. After that I spent a year with the Structures’ team doing my University Industrial Placement. And then in the summer of 2017, I joined Atkins on their Graduate Development Programme – and I’m still here!
Why I decided to do work experience
I was unsure what types of roles the construction and engineering industry offered. I knew that I was interested in design, problem solving and being creative, but I was unsure how best to apply my skills in a career. Work experience gave me the chance to discover the variety of engineering careers that were available, and also to see what it was like to work in a design office, which I had no experience of prior to my placement.
My first day at Atkins
At first it was nerve racking! I’d never worked in an office before, so I was unsure what to expect. But everyone I met was so friendly, and once I was introduced to my team I felt a less nervous and more excited. I spent the rest of the day shadowing one of Atkins’ senior master planners, which was really interesting. I attended design meetings and workshops, was given a tour of the office and some insight into different projects Atkins were doing. I was also given my first set of tasks to complete. When I got home, and after telling my family all about my exciting first day, I had an early night ready for my second day!
Some advice for when you do work experience
Make sure you get to work on time each day, that you’re professional and that you do the work you need to in the time required. However, at Atkins people are there to help you learn and make the most of your time, so you will always have the support and guidance to do well.
The support I had during work experience at Atkins
I had a direct manager who I could speak to each day about what work I needed to do, and who could give me any help I needed. I also had a ‘buddy’ who was someone of a similar age to me (first/second year graduate), who would take me to lunch each day and who became a good friend whilst I was on my placement. Both these avenues of support meant I really got the best out of my work experience.
My biggest achievement during my work experience
I did a research project on a sport’s city in Saudi Arabia to assist in a bid that Atkins were submitting. I looked at precedent examples of all the facilities in the city, and produced a report in InDesign (a new software that I learnt how to use). I had two copies printed so I could show my school what I’d worked on. I was proud of what I had done and it gave me something to take to University interviews to show what I was capable of.
The top three things I learnt about myself doing work experience at Atkins
• That I’m a good people person, who works well in a team
• That I can achieve anything if I put my mind to it
• That there is no need to be nervous about doing something new, or unfamiliar because people are always willing to help you
Being on the Graduate Development Programme at Atkins
I love being a Junior Civil Engineer because of the sense of achievement I feel when I work hard to solve problems, which ultimately have a positive impact on society. Each day is different, and the work is so varied that each day I feel I’m developing new skills. No two projects are the same, with unique challenges. I love the fact that it’s very much a team-based career, which means I always feel supported and encouraged to achieve the best I can.
Being part of the Graduate Community at Atkins is great!
It offers an amazing support both inside and outside of my day-to-day life at Atkins. It provides a great platform to get involved with social activities and meet new people. It also provides the opportunity to get to know people from other parts of the business and understand the variety of work that the company does.
How I get the most out of working at Atkins
I take every opportunity I can. Whether it be a charity cake sale, a training course, a lunchtime seminar or the graduate ski trip. I do my best to get involved with as much as I can, to not only develop on a professional level, but to meet people across the business and learn as much as I can. Atkins is full of very talented people, undertaking some incredible work on projects across the world, and the more you put in the more you’ll get out.
Join us for your work experience and be the best you can be. Apply here.