What attracted you to apply for a placement with Atkins?
It is a well-respected company working in a wide range of sectors and disciplines. I was interested in working in engineering consultancy as it combined a logical, evidence based approach and my communication skills.
How many placements with Atkins did you complete?
I completed a year in industry within ADS&T Bristol Office from 2014-2015.
How would describe your roles and responsibilities?
I was involved in a wide variety work during my year. I spent the majority of my placement working in systems engineering. I helped to organise client and stakeholder meetings and helped to develop ways of using the results for further analysis. I was given the additional responsibility of co-ordinating a small internal technical team to create a web tool for the task. This involved organising meetings with the client and their technical team to ensure the final product would be compatible with their internal systems. I used my programming knowledge to help the team develop the product and to help communicate technical information to the client. I wrote a set of guides for the client and visited the client offsite to ensure the guides contained the right information and was easy to understand.
I spent time in business development primarily with bid support. I helped to research and organise material for the bidding process often to very tight deadlines. I also helped to develop supporting material with senior engineers for both internal and external meetings for the bid team. It gave me a great insight into how Atkins wins work and helped to develop my interpersonal skills.
I was also given the opportunity to work offsite supporting the Atkins project management team. It gave me an insight into how Atkins build relationships with clients.
What have been your top 3 highlights?
1. Knowing that the work I had done had made a difference was a great achievement.
2. Building good relationships and friendships within the office. The team were welcoming from the day I joined and were always happy to take the time to help me make the most of my placement no matter what level they were.
3. Working offsite was great fun and gave me a taste of how consultancies work alongside clients.
Did you find conducting a placement helped you in your studies?
My year in industry gave me great confidence in my abilities coming into my final year. The communication and organisation skills I developed during my placement helped me to structure my final year project. It also gave me a break from exams and a chance to see what my degree can offer beyond university.
Following your placement, did you find it easier to obtain a graduate role?
It certainly has helped me to find a graduate role, I was offered a graduate position at the ADS&T office in Bristol soon after I finished my placement. I think having a year's experience with a company looks impressive on a CV regardless of where you apply.
What advice and tips would you give to others for the future?
Meet as many people as possible - I found the wide variety of work I did came from the people I had met during my placement. Resource group meetings were a great way for me to meet people from all different levels and disciplines and everyone wants to help as much as they can.
Don't be afraid to ask questions - it really helped me to understand the work I was doing and sometimes sparked further discussion into an aspect of a task that may not have been thought of. Take up any opportunity that comes your way - A placement is the best way to try a variety of work without the pressure. Make the most of your time and try the things you don't think you will like as it may lead to other things or you may find out you really enjoy it.
What are your plans for the future?
I am really looking forward to starting my graduate role in ADS&T in September and planning to take part in the Systems Engineering Masters programme organised by Atkins.