Why did you choose to join Atkins?
During my second year of university I wanted to apply for a work placement with a company which worked on some of the most prestigious engineering projects around. In addition, a company that worked in a number of different industries. Atkins fitted the bill. Following my application and interview, I was offered the chance to undertake a year-long work placement with the Mechanical, Electrical & Process (MEP) team within the Water & Environment division.
Following successful completion of my placement and Masters degree, the time came to decide on my graduate career and a Graduate Development Programme (GDP). With the experiences I had gained, there was only one place to turn to, and that was Atkins. I was pleased to be given the opportunity to return to the MEP team based in Epsom.
What have been your key achievements since joining Atkins?
Within my first year of the GDP I have been involved in a number of projects, but two notable projects have provided me with a real sense of personal achievement and development.
Firstly, due to increasing landfill disposal costs, a water utility company tasked Atkins with providing a detailed investigation into the potential risks involved in installing a Grit Handling and Clarification Plant (GHCP) on one of their wastewater treatment works. The risks ranged from financial, operational and maintenance. Naturally, a desired outcome for the Atkins project team was to provide a working solution for the client to effectively implement a GHCP. But the financial and operational risks it posed to the client far outweighed the benefits it could provide. Nevertheless, we identified an alternative solution to resolve the escalating disposal costs they were encountering.
The project really challenged me and exposed me to a number of different roles, such as mechanical reviewer, project manager and financial risk analyst. The role also tested my communication skills as it required my coordination with other disciplines outside my team. A big sense of achievement was felt once the project was completed, as a lot of responsibility was placed up on me and I delivered a detailed project to the client.
Secondly, I was seconded to our Bristol team to provide mechanical assistance for a clean water project. The outline design project was developed to enable the site to increase its water abstraction capabilities from its spring water source. Due to a small project team, greater responsibility was placed on me. Some of the project deliverables I was tasked with were Process & Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs), pump station design drawings, pump selection, H&S documentation and estimated mechanical costs.
Yet again this project challenged me and I felt a great sense of achievement, as major emphasis was placed upon me to provide mechanical solutions for difficult technical problems. My contribution to the project provided the client with the results they were in search of. And lastly, my ability to successfully integrate with another team provided another personal satisfaction.
What are your future aspirations?
As I progress on the Atkins GDP, I hope to be involved in a wide variety of projects, working with a number of different clients and industries. I also hope to gain some international experience along the way.
I have keen aspirations to become a chartered engineer in the future. To enable me to achieve this, I am enrolled on the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Monitored Professional Development Scheme (MPDS). The scheme assigns me with a mentor who oversees my development and reviews the four annual reports I produce to assess the competences I have met within the reporting period.
As yet I am unsure as to the route I wish to take within Atkins: technical, managerial or project management. But for the foreseeable future I will be focusing on developing my technical abilities to ensure I am a competent engineer within my field.