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Neil Cuthbert, Assistant engineer, Atkins


Assistant engineer

My Bio

When did you join Atkins?

 I joined Atkins in September 2011 immediately after graduating from the University of Dundee with a first class honours degree MEng in Civil Engineering, Design and Management.

Why did you join Atkins?

 I joined Atkins after four summer placements as an ICE QUEST Scholar in various locations and business units around the UK. I worked in Design & Engineering (Aberdeen), Rail (Glasgow) and Nuclear (Bristol). My time with Atkins over four summers gave me a great insight into the variety of work that Atkins performs. This and the welcoming atmosphere tempted me back as a graduate.

How would you describe your role and responsibilities?

 I am part of a small team of structural engineers that support multidisciplinary design projects in the oil and gas industry. This focuses on the early project development phases of conceptual design, pre-FEED (front end engineering design) and FEED. I am responsible for structural analysis and weight control within this team. 

How do you describe what you do to friends and family?

 My friends and family know my job as designing oil rigs. They also know I do a lot of fancy analysis with specialist computer software!

Do you have any professional accreditations?

 I’m a graduate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

What key projects have you worked on?

 During summer placements I worked on the following major projects: Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line electrification feasibility, Glasgow Airport Rail Link, and decommissioning of Trawsfynydd nuclear power station. My first year as a graduate has seen me work on CNr decommissioning studies, DONG Siri clamp repair and Maersk Denmark conceptual design for Tyra-Adda.

What are you currently working on?

 I have just finished my involvement with the Tyra Adda conceptual design project. It is anticipated that this will progress into detailed design. I see this as an excellent opportunity to develop my career further and follow this project through to installation and first oil.

What achievement are you most proud of? 

 I am extremely proud of my involvement with the conceptual design project for Maersk Denmark. This project was strategically important for Atkins and represented a step change in oil and gas design work in Aberdeen. I was in charge of weight control, detailed drawings and structural analysis – all within a tight schedule. This project was delivered to the client on time and to budget.

What’s the most technically challenging project you’ve worked on at Atkins?

 The most technically demanding project has been by far the DONG Siri clamp repair project. Our team designed the lifting aids for large leg clamps which are to be installed on the platform in the North Sea. Our designs had to cope with lateral bending and complex bearing forces which involved some out-of-the-box thinking to reach a safe design.

The Atkins factor
How has your career developed at Atkins?
 Despite being in the early stages of my career in engineering, Atkins has helped my professional development dramatically. We perform some of the most challenging technical engineering design in the oil and gas industry and graduates are involved every step of the way. The experience I have gained at such an early stage has been second to none.

How have you been supported during your career development? 

 I have been provided with excellent support from my colleagues and leading technical engineers within the company. What I find is the senior members of staff always have time to help you out and coach you along the way. This support has without doubt been a big factor in helping me reach the shortlist for NCE Graduate of the Year 2012.

How do civil engineers and Atkins make a difference? 

 We as individuals go the extra mile and this is something that I notice consistently across the business. Atkins’ technical excellence and ability to solve problems that others can’t is a significant unique selling point.

How would you describe the culture at Atkins? 

 Since joining Atkins everyone has made me feel extremely welcome. We pride ourselves on being technically excellent and I think this shows in everything we deliver to our clients.

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