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Rachel House, Engineering consultant, Atkins


Engineering consultant

When did you join Atkins?

I joined Atkins on the graduate scheme in September of 2009.

Why did you join Atkins?

I knew I wanted to work in consultancy, and I’d heard that Atkins had a lot of opportunities in areas that interested me. When I came for interview, I was really impressed by the people I met and the projects I heard about.

What did you do before you joined Atkins?

I studied for an MEng in Mechanical Engineering at Durham University. I also did a lot of holiday placements with another consultancy.

How would you describe your role and responsibilities?

It varies from project to project – I get involved in a range of mechanical engineering jobs at any stage of the product lifecycle. I’ve got experience in design, analysis and commercial projects; I enjoy being able to turn my hand to a lot of different things. I’m now starting to take responsibility for the work of other engineers too as a team leader. 

I’m also the local co-ordinator for the IMechE development scheme in the Derby Defence office, helping graduates to progress towards chartership.

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

“I design planes, jet engines and other things I can’t tell you about!”

Do you have any professional accreditations?

I’m just in the process of applying for chartership with the IMechE, after following their professional development scheme for graduates.

What key projects have you worked on?

I’ve worked on a few Airbus projects, including the design of the A350 inboard flap with the team in the Netherlands. I undertook a period of R&D work as part of the Next Generation Composite Wing project and worked in design and analysis for a major project for a key defence client, as well as doing a lot of smaller FE analysis tasks.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently leading a team of engineers in the Life Cycle Cost team at Rolls-Royce. We review in-service engines against their original design intent and establish if it’s possible to safely reduce the running cost.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Rather than any one thing, it’s the way that my career has progressed so far – I’ve been able to work abroad, work on design, analysis and commercial projects, all in the space of less than four years.

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

It was a facilities design project – we had a lot of safety and security requirements which needed to be considered alongside the usual operational, manufacturing and user requirements.

How has your career developed at Atkins?

After joining as a graduate, I’ve been promoted twice and am now able to take on leadership roles. I’ve been able to experience different projects, but transfer skills between them.

How have you been supported during your career development?

I’ve been able to work on projects which have provided me with the competences I need to apply for chartership. I’ve worked with my line manager and mentor to make sure that I am getting a well-rounded experience and working towards my career goals.

How do engineers and Atkins make a difference?

By working independently, we’re able to provide our clients with skills and experience which they may not have, generate solutions they may not have thought of, and provide a rounded approach to solving their problems.

How would you describe the culture at Atkins?

It’s a culture of “right first time”; the quality of our work is really important. The motto of my business unit is “it can be done” – this sets Atkins apart as the attitude is always that there must be a solution and way round any obstacles, we just need to think in the right way to find it!   

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