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Nick Parlantzas, Graduate Environmental Scientist, Atkins

Nick

Graduate Environmental Scientist

Business area: Environment
Years into GDP: Graduate Alumni
University and degree: Imperial College London – MSc in Hydrology & Water Resources Management

Why did you choose Atkins?

After graduating with a MEng in Surveying Engineering and a MSc in Hydrology and Water Resources Management, my career aspiration was to join a global company that would allow me to be involved in a variety of exciting projects related to civil engineering and environmental management. As a graduate, the opportunity to use my skills in international projects that assist in the regeneration of communities through environmental management was a major factor for choosing Atkins.

I was also aware of the amazing support Atkins offers to graduates through the Development Programme, which allows me to work towards chartership with both the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Atkins offers some great support networks for young Graduates that need guidance when they start their careers and there are always people willing to offer invaluable advice!

Perhaps the greatest benefit of working for Atkins is the opportunity to work in teams of key experts in the industry, use the skills I’ve developed through my studies in different settings and take on increasing responsibilities from this early stage of my career.

What’s been your highlight on the graduate development programme so far?

I consider my involvement in two major projects as the most notable achievement of my Atkins career so far.

I have been involved in the Highways England’s A14 Improvement Scheme, a major infrastructure scheme, expected to relieve traffic congestion, enhance economic growth and improve the environment. Atkins was awarded the detailed design contract, after the DCO was granted. I’ve carried out several tasks related to hydrology and hydraulic modelling, assessing the impact of proposed structures on flood risk.

This project allowed me to take on a lot of responsibility and appreciate the importance of delivering high quality work first time, due to its critical programme. I managed to improve my communication skills significantly by collaborating with other disciplines and introduced me to environmental policies and legislation.

My key achievement so far however would be my involvement in a major international project, the Climate Resilience Improvement Project in Sri Lanka. The country’s economical and social development has been facing climate related hazards, therefore Atkins was asked to provide consultancy services. I’ve worked in numerous disciplines so far, including hydrological modelling and water resources planning, which has assisted in developing new technical skills.

My role includes working from Colombo, an experience that exposed me to a different culture and working environment. I’ve been engaging with local staff, new clients and stakeholders daily. The recognition of my contribution to the project allowed me to manage a local team in Colombo and has provided me with a real sense of personal achievement and development.

 

What social, society or CSR activities have you been involved with at Atkins?

Apart from my technical role, I’ve been an active member of the Graduate community within Atkins. I’m a Graduate member of CIWEM and ICE, therefore I’m always seeking opportunities to meet colleagues at the same stage of their career and work together towards chartership. I’m also an active member of various Technical Excellence Networks within Atkins, holding a key role in the Hydrology and Urban Stormwater Network.

I’ve recently become the Innovation Hub Leader for my home office, a role that allows me to communicate with colleagues from across the business and understand how we can further promote innovation within Atkins. We are working with some of the most talented professionals in the industry and Atkins offers a great network to materialise exciting new ideas!

Since the day I joined Atkins, I’ve been coordinating social events for my home office, including successful Christmas dinner parties and barbecues. This role allowed me to integrate successfully with the wider Atkins team and meet colleagues from various business units, including key experts in the industry; an invaluable experience for a Graduate. I’m also the sports club coordinator for my home office, encouraging colleagues to engage in physical activities and improve their health and wellbeing. Last year, we joined and successfully completed the Global Corporate Challenge.

Finally, I’m an active member of Yammer, a well-established communication tool for Atkins employees, where one can share ideas and seek support for topics ranging from technical queries to innovation and employee wellbeing.

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