21 February 2020
I'm Colin, a Managing Consultant with the Transport Planning Practice at Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, in the UK. I've been with Atkins for over three years and have been a Transport Planner for over 17. I'm part of a large Transport Planning team in the Cambridge office where we have a great mix of skills, personalities and a fantastic work ethos.
What is a transport planner?
Think of it as a role that exists somewhere between Civil Engineering and Planning. Transport Planners provide highways advice that helps developers show how their schemes might impact local transport systems. The role has evolved into what we call Development Planning, giving clients advice and recommendations, not just for proposed developments, but for corridor and feasibility studies as well. We can also provide information about flood risk, planning and local development guidance.
What got you interested in transport planning?
I fell into it because my father was a Civil Engineer turned Transport Planning specialist, and I started working with him. I trained and grew my experience in Transport Planning as well as flood risk, highways design, modelling and even detailed highways design. The more I learn about my field, the more I'm fascinated by it – and there is still much to learn!
How did you come to work for Atkins?
I've worked in the field for a long time, for both small and large consultancy companies. Atkins has always worked on industry-leading projects, and the staff have always seemed easy going. The reason I decided to join Atkins was that I wanted a friendlier working atmosphere. Plus, the Cambridge office is also easy to get to without going through Cambridge City Centre.
What tips do you have for anyone attending an interview at Atkins?
Be honest and know that the interviewers want you to succeed. Remember that they are people too. Atkins wants to employ the best, but we also want people who are willing to learn and grow within the company.
What has your experience been like at Atkins so far?
I've been privileged to work on a multitude of different projects, which has kept me on my toes. I have a good team around me and supportive managers, which is vital in any company.
Tell us about a few of your projects, big and small.
I have worked on Sizewell Power Station, a large nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast, assessing the traffic and highways designs for the site. I've also worked on a few smaller projects, mainly residential developments, of some thirty houses, which is a small project for us. One more exciting project was working for the Essex Police, redeveloping their headquarters in Chelmsford.
Did you ever feel overwhelmed working in a global company like Atkins?
It would only become overwhelming if I felt unsupported by the company, but at all times, there is someone to support you when you need it.
Who inspires you at Atkins?
One of my colleagues here in the Cambridge Office, who is a real personality around the office! He provides such clarity on many aspects of transport planning and sometimes also makes you see things from a different point of view. It is always helpful to see both sides of the story.
Do you have any advice for people embarking on a career in your field?
We can change the world, Transport Planners, that is. All we need is to stick to our beliefs that transport is intrinsically linked to personal well-being and quality of life. If we can design and plan for those three streams, we will make the world a better place!
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