About James’ role at Atkins
I joined Atkins’ Water and Environment business in 2011, based in Oxford. I’m a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) specialist, working on mapping and data collection solutions for clients including water companies and the Environment Agency.
About James’ role as a Reservist
I’ve been an Army Reservist, serving in the Royal Engineers, since Summer 2013. I serve with 135 Geographic Squadron in Ewell near Epsom as a Sapper. I decided to become a Reservist because I was looking to try out something new and wanted an opportunity to meet people and learn new skills. I found out about my particular unit through Atkins’ internal intranet with a discussion being posted about 135; the geographic focus linked directly to my role here at Atkins so got my attention.
The main challenge I face as a Reservist is time management. I’ve been fortunate enough to go on a huge range of training courses and learn new skills but it does take up a fair amount of time so I need to balance this with my full time work at Atkins.
About Atkins’ approach to Reservists
When I began thinking about joining the Army Reserves I researched Atkins’ policies because it was important to me that the company was supportive. Atkins and my full time job are my priority and being a Reservist is something I enjoy doing in my spare time, but I wanted to know there wasn’t going to be a conflict of interest. I soon learned that Atkins fully supports the Reserves and have guidelines available to clarify the deployment procedure.
My main concern is support on a more local level in order to carry out the necessary training. This comes from my line manager and the head of my project team who both encouraged me to take on my role as a Reservist and allow for flexibility with my annual leave in order to carry out that training. This made my decision to join the Reservists a lot easier.
I think supporting Reservists is an important selling point for Atkins. The Reservists within our teams are able to apply specific engineering skills to a broad range of real life situations and develop these skills more fully. Alongside this there are the advantages of more developed people and time management skills that are applied to Atkins’ projects on a daily basis. In addition my role with 135 provides plenty of cross-overs between my role at Atkins and that of being a Reservist.
I’m glad to see Atkins signing the Armed Forces Covenant. It’s good to show support for the Armed Forces community but more importantly to demonstrate this support through the procedures and culture we have in place here at Atkins.