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Practice Manager (Rail Communication & Information Systems)

  1. Transportation

The UK & Europe Transportation Division in Atkins brings together the capabilities of our key markets, Strategic Highways, Strategic Rail, Local Transport, into a single £450m turnover business of 3,750+ talented engineers and professionals. The transport infrastructure sector is experiencing unprecedented levels of investment and Atkins is playing lead roles in key projects across the UK and Europe from high-speed rail to major road programmes to Digital Railway implementation.  It is not just about today, the business is investing and building new capability and services in intelligent mobility, digital asset management and new products for the rail market.  Our teams work closely with Government, national and local authorities to deliver integrated transport strategies and solutions that support economic growth and improved journeys for all.

The unique breadth of services in transportation, combined with our scale, makes us the leading UK transport engineering consultancy, enabling us to inspire our people and collaborate with our clients to shape the future of transportation.

Reporting to the Practice Director (Design), the Rail Communications and Information Systems Practice Manager will be responsible for the leadership of a team of 40 Railway Telecommunications and Information Systems designers and engineers.  This role will be achieved by driving technical and delivery excellence, with a strong focus on quality, developing key supply chain strategies plus ensuring that the best possible products and services are provided to our clients.

Atkins Railway Communications and Information Systems (C&IS) team is part of our Signalling & Communications Systems (S&CS) Practice. As such you will be part of a resource group comprising over 400 staff, with a £100m per annum turnover. We are a key supplier to Network Rail on many of its major S&T schemes (including the Feltham Re-signalling programme) and as one of NRT’s suppliers on their Network Design and Integration Services Framework. We also have developing relationships with TFL, London Underground and several contractors.  The S&CS practice, core activities consist of design, construction, testing, engineering and project management of signalling projects – combined with Intelligent Transportation Systems consultancy and design, a railway safety training school and several roles around airport communications and security systems.  Reflecting our technical expertise and scale, we are often involved in the largest and most complex projects, which have a significant impact on and ability to enhance the UK’s rail network and stations infrastructure.

Key objectives:

  • Drive the vision and strategy of the Railway Communications and Information Systems (C&IS) design discipline within our business, providing value and excellent customer experience for all our clients (both internal Atkins and external) across the UK Rail market.  
  • Build a top performing Rail C&IS team, through staff development at all levels (experienced and early careers) ensuring that there is a greater emphasis on opportunities for rotation throughout the practice and wider transportation business/other design practices to share common telecommunications skills across the business.
  • Ensuring the C&IS design lifecycle, from early development through to detailed design, is clearly understood and aligned with the wider transportation business deliverables and working in harmony with the other sections (construction and testing) of the S&CS practices, other engineering disciplines from other practices (e.g. civil engineering and E&P design) and our project teams. 
  • Inspire and act as a role model to all staff, fostering a collaborative environment, where the entire C&IS team, learn, develop and drive increased business results.
  • Ensure that C&IS design resources are delivering well across the portfolio of major D&B projects, minor projects and consultancy/design only commissions that they are engaged on.
  • Work with the market and business development teams to engage with clients and actively sell the technical and delivery capabilities of our Rail C&IS team.
  • Lead C&IS design resource workforce planning within the practice - identify current and future resourcing requirements for C&IS, and skills needed to match expected workload and future bid profiles.
  • Work with our supply chain partners to ensure we can deliver the peaks of communications design works whilst optimising productivity during downturns in workload.


  • Be widely visible across the rail business, championing the right cultural values to enhance technical assurance.  Instilling the correct behaviours within the organisation to enable consistent delivery which is technically robust, on time and profitable.
  • Work in collaboration with all parts of the Strategic Rail Market and associated practices.
  • Drive the adoption of consistent tools and methodologies especially around digital design solutions on our projects which require C&IS input.
  • Lead annual budget development for the C&IS design element of the S&CS practice and deliver to those budget targets.
  • Work with the Market Directors’ teams to establish both long and short-term resource demand based on the pipeline of opportunities.
  • Recruitment; continuous professional development and succession planning to ensure that the profile of the C&IS sub-practice is aligned with Atkins’ current and future offering to the market.
  • Lead and promote innovative approaches (specifically in relation to C&IS Design) to improve efficiency and profitability, whilst maintaining or improving management of technical risk.
  • Contribute to projects / bids as required to support the projects undertaken by the practice. This may be technical/design related support or delivery (project management) support depending on individual background.
  • Supporting regular reviews (including by audit where appropriate) of Design Practices’ compliance with the technical assurance framework for both business technical processes and individual projects. 


  • Chartered Engineer or equivalent in Electrical/Electronic/Telecommunications/Information Systems Engineering related discipline is preferable. Degree level qualifications with professional affiliations in other disciplines are accepted for candidates meeting other key requirements below.
  • Experience and successful track record of leading teams of similar size, both at an operational level and through project/engineering management. (Preferably in telecommunications engineering environment)
  • Experience of both operational telecommunications and retail/station telecommunications projects delivery environments.
  • Knowledge/experience of undertaking contractor design management.
  • Experience of the rail industry is essential.
  • Flexible to travel across the UK as required.

Personal Attributes

  • Able to lead the practice team so that it has a reputation for technical excellence and quality of delivery in a relevant discipline
  • A hard working and flexible individual, who is reliable, proactive and innovative, whilst able to keep calm under pressure and when working to often demanding deadlines.
  • A high expectation of performance for themselves and other members of the team, coupled with a drive for continuous improvement.
  • Customer focused.
  • Excellent interpersonal, organisational and communication skills both verbally and in written correspondence.
  • Able to build and motivate a team and demonstrate good management qualities.
  • Self-motivated and able to work both independently as well as within a larger multi-discipline team.
  • A supportive and encouraging approach to mentoring less experienced members of the team, combined with a passion for staff development.
  • Able to adapt to different cultures and working environments to build rapport with both clients and the practice teams.
  • Strong business acumen with a demonstrated knowledge of identifying potential value creation
  • Excellent team player.

ATKINS, part of the SNC Lavalin Group, is committed to having a diverse and inclusive workforce. As an Equal Opportunities Employer, we value applications from all backgrounds, cultures and ability.

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