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Practice Operations Director – Rail Consulting

  1. Derby, London
  1. Transportation

Practice Operations Director – Rail Consulting

The Transportation UK&E division in Atkins brings together the capabilities of our key markets, Strategic Highways, Strategic Rail and Local Transport into a single £450m turnover business of 3200+ 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.  But 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 Rail Consulting Practice Director, the Practice Operations Director will be responsible for leading the practice to achieve business performance targets through operational excellence, driving technical and delivery excellence, with a strong focus on quality, plus ensuring that the best possible products and services are provided to our clients. The Practice Operations Director will oversee P&L budgeting and forecasting for Rail Consulting and ensure delivery against these promises. The Operations Director will also drive the change programme involving new processes as well as getting the right people in the right roles.

Key objectives:

  • Drive the practice performance, providing value and excellent customer experience for all our clients across the Transportation markets.  
  • Work with Project Directors and Project Managers to coordinate and take responsibility for all projects related to the market with an objective to deliver all projects on time and within budget while exceeding client quality expectations.
  • Leading the identification of resources to deliver client projects.
  • Oversee the performance of Project Managers and Project Directors delivering RC Projects
  • Oversee budgeting and undertake monthly operational reviews within the Practice
  • Identify and manage portfolio risks, and properly escalate key decisions and actions
  • Build a top performing team, through staff development at all levels (experienced and early careers) ensuring that there is a greater emphasis on rotation throughout the practice and wider transportation business.
  • Inspire and act as a role model to all staff, fostering a collaborative environment, where the entire Rail Consulting team, learn, develop and drive increased business results.
  • Drive workforce planning within the practice - identify current and future resourcing requirements and skills needed to match expected workload and future bid profiles.
  • Complete the Integration process with Atkins through the change programme
  • Developing the Operational Structure and ensuring Rail Consulting have the Right People in the Right Roles


  • Widely visible across the Rail Consulting 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
  • Leadership of the talent and discipline groups in the practice to enhance our technical excellence, maintaining excellence and identity
  • Drive and develop consistent tools and methodology across the practice aligned with the wider Transportation business, and include as appropriate the community leading on lower risk projects within the practices.
  • Develop a plan and budget for the practice and deliver against that budget.
  • Work with the sales 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 practice is aligned with EDPM current and future offering to the market.
  • Lead and promote innovative approaches to project delivery to improve efficiency and profitability, whilst maintaining or improving management of technical risk
  • Develop, agree and deliver budget targets within the practice.
  • Supporting regular reviews (including by audit where appropriate) of Transportation’s business units’ compliance with the technical assurance framework for both business technical processes and individual projects. 


  • Experience and successful track record of leading large teams
  • Knowledge/experience of the consultancy sector with knowledge of Transportation sector desirable
  • Experience of implementing transformational change


  • This is a true leadership position requiring the successful candidate to mobilise and motivate an engineering consultancy team who have interdependence with colleagues who manage the delivery of signalling projects.
  • Ability to be an 'influencer' within the rail/highways sectors, able to shape thinking based on personal credibility and the building of relationships.
  • Able to develop effective and enduring relationships.
  • A strategic thinker, able to understand and anticipate changing markets and turns thinking into action.


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