Will work experience count?
Posting date:2/7/2020 4:28 PM
08 February 2020
“I did three weeks’ work experience at Atkins when I started university. I ended up in the same team as the one I did work experience with!”
Hi – I’m Tim, an Environmental Scientist in the Water Management Consultancy team at Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group. I am a geologist, who was lucky enough to spend a few weeks here after my first year of my undergraduate degree. My advice to any applicant is to just apply. You’ll get to work on amazing projects with great people, and there’s a role to fit everyone from a STEM background. (Be careful though – I liked it so much I forgot to leave, applied for the Graduate Programme, and I’m still here today!)
What’s the best thing about what you do?
Definitely the breadth of projects I get to work on. One day I’ll be working on plans for managing water supplies for a major water company. The next I’ll be analyzing data on the impact of climate change on national infrastructure projects. And then be finishing off the week working in the field, looking for sites to monitor river flows, and speaking to landowners about the environment.
How did you go about getting your work placement at Atkins?
I met the team in person at an alumni event. I was telling them how I wanted to work in the environmental sector, and make a difference. I’m now working with the same team that I met at that event – they’re a fantastic bunch!
What was your first day like at Atkins?
Exceptionally friendly and welcoming. I was assigned a buddy, and we went around and met the entire team, chatted about what everyone did, and what I could get involved with over the next few weeks. The office was buzzing about the team away day later that week and I was invited along too.
How did work experience change your perspective?
It definitely made me think about consultancy firms as a potential way forward for my career. But more importantly it helped me think about the direction I wanted to take my studies after my undergraduate degree. The team wanted to know what my interests are. And it gave me a great number of ideas of Master’s courses to investigate, which were all fascinating in different ways. Before doing my work experience, I definitely didn’t appreciate the wide range of skill-sets that Atkins looks for in employees.
What was work experience at Atkins like?
I came into the firm not knowing what to expect, other than hopefully helping on some of the exciting projects that Atkins is famous for. At the time Atkins’ most recent major project was the London 2012 Olympics, which wasn’t too far from Essex where I grew up. I was not disappointed and was absolutely blown away by the team. I realized that most people who enter this line of work do so because they really love what they do. That sheer enthusiasm was evident from Day 1, and I still see it when I come into work every day.
What kind of support did you have during your work experience that helped you do so well?
Within the Water Management Consultancy team, it wasn’t just the more recently graduated members of the team who took an interest. But everyone, no matter their role in the company. Everyone will chip in and give you advice, while also really listening to what you say. It honestly makes such a difference to your life as a young professional.
Tell us about the projects you were involved in during your work experience
A niche project was reporting to the team on recent research about the impact of climate change on chalk aquifers. (Underground storage reservoirs of water, which supply a large proportion of the water to the UK.) It was really great to see how the team was looking at the recent academic work, to make sure their work was always cutting edge.
A really big project was looking at the impact of using various aquifers in the Anglian region where I grew up. And how they would affect protected sites in the area. It was inspiring to see the impact of the work on sites that I had grown up around, and ensure their futures.
What are the top three amazing things Atkins helped you learn about yourself during your work experience?
- I can make a difference through my job. My role really allowed me to impact the world around me, and be proud of what I achieved.
- Who you work with matters. It really makes a difference to be with a team of people who care about what they do every day.
- There is a role for everyone here. The background of everyone in the team I worked with was different. They all brought diverse and exciting skills to the table. It means that the team was able to come up with new and exciting solutions for any challenge we faced.
How do your colleagues at Atkins help you deliver the best for people and the environment?
People and the environment are always at the focus of everything we do. It’s great to go home at the end of the day, and think that I’ve hopefully improved the world we live in. It’s not something you can get in every job. It’s always exciting to see my projects ‘in the wild’.
I’m currently working on the new reservoir for Havant Thicket, including being involved with the wetland design team. I am already looking forward to visiting the wildlife haven it hopefully will become when it’s finished!
What’s the Apprentice & Graduate community like at Atkins?
A lot of companies describe themselves as ‘The Company Who Cares’. I think it’s true for very few companies who say it. However at Atkins it definitely is.
I’ve been privileged to co-lead the Graduate Infrastructure Forum, and have seen first hand the amazing amount of work and efforts that are given to help young professionals within the firm. This ranges from support progressing and learning through the company, organized social events, ski trips and trips abroad, well-being support, and bespoke training. There is a whole team of people working tirelessly to help young professionals succeed at Atkins, and make sure that everyone gets the opportunity to thrive inside and outside of work.
How do you get the most out of life working at Atkins?
I know its cliched, but I would have to say jumping headfirst into all opportunities that have come my way. You don’t know where they will lead – and that includes applying for the work experience scheme!
I’ve been thrilled to work on some truly amazing projects, and I’m proud of what the project teams have achieved. But continually reflecting the enthusiasm that others have for the work, and volunteering to help, allows me to meet and work with some truly brilliant people. I couldn’t recommend applying for this opportunity enough!
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