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Paul Hutchinson, Chief Engineer, Atkins


Chief Engineer

My role at Atkins
I am the Chief Engineer for the Communications and Networks Team within ADS&T responsible for the technical direction across a number of diverse projects that originate both within ADS&T and across the wider Atkins’ divisions.

Primarily, the team and I provide technical experience and design capability in the field of ICT and telecommunications covering Radio and RF engineering including Private Mobile Radio (PMR) solutions, cellular and 5G coverage mapping, Wi-Fi design planning and spectrum management. From a fixed perspective, we provide expert advice on secure passive infrastructure including fibre optic and copper cabling, pit & duct infrastructure, and data centre design. Finally, we also undertake active ICT network design and smart city digital solutions.

Our clients include Nuclear, Defence, Government Agencies, Transportation, and Utilities as well as the private sector, and it is this breadth of diversity that makes my role so interesting. Add in to the mix the opportunity to work with some very gifted individuals and you can create solutions that will help shape the future of the UK. Having been with Atkins for four years, I can honestly say that my life is enriched from the work we undertake.

My role in the Reserves
I am about to undertake my commissioning course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) which will result in my taking command of a troop as a Second Lieutenant. I am a member of 32 Signal Regiment in Glasgow whose role is to provide communications and IT advice to Regional Brigades in Scotland and Northern Ireland in support of civil engagement and homeland defence, and help shape their communications and IT requirements for overseas training missions. The regiment also augments the regular Army in support of operations within the UK and oversees.

As a troop commander, my role is to lead and motivate specialist soldiers responsible for the Army's communication systems and help set up headquarters on operations, designing and establishing the communications networks that run through them and out across the battle space.

In my time with the reserves, I have learned about leadership, camaraderie and keeping fit alongside the more technical aspects of the role. My highlights to date include building up to and then passing the Army Officer Selection Board at Westbury, taking part in a military exercise at Garelochhead and I’m looking forward to travelling to Germany in September for the Regiment’s Annual Camp.

There is some synergy between my work with Atkins and the Army Reserve as they are both technical, require line management skills and involve team work to achieve goals. However, different approaches are also required and this has allowed me transfer, learn, and implement new skills in both my roles.

Atkins’ approach to the Reserves
Taking a role in the reserves means accepting additional commitment over above your usual work/life balance, and Atkins is extremely supportive in this respect, documented in the Armed Forces Covenant. Flexibility is key and ten days extra leave to serve with the reserves is of great benefit. In addition, particularly in ADS&T, we have many ex-military personnel and undertake a wide range of projects in support of the Armed Forces which means that we have fostered a culture that appreciates the work our military undertake and the skills that they can bring to our business. My Line manager is also incredibly supportive and is interested in understanding himself how the Army promotes and engenders its leadership ethos.

What if you’re interested in serving with the Reserves?
Find out more!! There are many serving reservists within Atkins and all would be very happy to tell you more about their roles and careers. There is also plenty of information on the Armed Forces websites and local units would always welcome the opportunity to explain in more details what’s involved and the process of joining. From a personal perspective, it’s a fabulous career that offers opportunities that you can’t do in any other profession – and it’s great fun!!

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