At Atkins, we encourage a diverse environment of talented individuals from all sorts of backgrounds. We value people for their ideas and ability, not just their formal education. That’s why we’re expanding our commitment to apprenticeships and work placements.
Mohammed has only been with Atkins for a matter of weeks. But already he is seeing the benefits of working in a vibrant atmosphere and being mentored by the best in the business.
“I may not have been with Atkins long, but I know I made the right choice to start my career here. I joined in August 2013 as an apprentice technician in the Birmingham office. Before that I had just completed my A-levels in maths, chemistry and biology. Trying to find your feet after A-levels these days is daunting; at first I didn’t know what path to choose – whether to go to university or to jump headfirst into a job. Then someone recommended that I consider apprenticeships, so I began to research the National Apprentice Scheme and found out about Atkins.
My dad was familiar with Atkins and told me it was a good company to work for. So I went to an initial ability and psychometric testing session at Solihull College and was then asked to go along to an Atkins assessment day with another dozen or so people.
The process was very efficient and thorough. The assessment was in three stages: a one-to-one interview, a team-building task and a group session. I felt comfortable – I wasn’t sure if I would succeed in getting through the assessment stage, but I felt it would be a really valuable experience anyway. I was told to expect a call within a fortnight, but in fact received a verbal offer the following week! My dad and I were delighted – all the hard work and preparation had paid off.
My apprenticeship scheme is for two years and I’m currently in the transportation drainage team within Land & Development. From day one it’s been hands-on; I’ve had a steady flow of both admin and project-based work on a range of projects, including East-West Rail, Cadley Hill and Wadi Al Buhair in Bahrain – all in just one month! It’s exciting to be working on real-life projects and learning in such a dynamic environment.
I’ve been mentored from my very first day by a colleague who’s done all he can to make sure I learn the ropes. With more new tasks to get stuck into every day, it’s been so reassuring to have someone on hand to offer advice, take me through the technical systems and help me build my skills base. My line manager has also set out year-one objectives with me so I have clear targets to strive for.
The hands-on nature of my apprenticeship is really stimulating, giving me the chance to apply my existing knowledge and learn on the job. I’m particularly enjoying developing my AutoCAD design skills on live projects. But I’m also able to support this with technical studies – I’m currently working four days a week and spending one day a week studying Level 3 Civil Engineering at Solihull College. It’s the best of both worlds and has allowed me to achieve more than I’d ever expected at the age of 19. Having been so torn between academic studies and the world of work, I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to combine the two. It’s a great experience – I couldn’t have made a better choice.”