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Rosina Simmons, Graduate Mechanical Engineer, Atkins

Rosina

Graduate Mechanical Engineer

Business area: Energy
Years into GDP: 1 (Placement Alumni)
University and degree: University of Warwick, MEng Mechanical Engineering.

What are the benefits of doing a placement at Atkins? How does it prepare you for the GDP?

I was looking to see what career I would like post-University. The year placement was welcome relief from three years of hard work. As it transpires, the consultancy work that Atkins undertakes in the Energy industry was an ideal fit for my skills and interest. I found the nature of “problem solving” work invigorating, and the open, familial style of Atkins welcoming. I left at the end of the year and returned to read for my Masters year with a graduate offer, which certainly eased worries that a finalist can have!

I took on my Masters year with improved resolve that was shaped by the methodical organisation that I had experienced with Atkins; working on multiple projects at the same time, sometimes with tight deadlines, is analogous to University.

I could fit back into a Rosina-shaped niche a short year later, having learnt the company culture, and gained a familiarity with how project work is delivered to clients. I could focus on the GDP scheme for getting the most out of progressing my career. A great bonus is that an industrial placement can count towards chartership! I know how to ask for projects that I want to work on, and asking for support to develop my skills. I feel like I’m in my second year of the programme already.

Why did you choose Atkins?

I had previous experience at a consultancy firm and really enjoyed the “problem solving” aspect to it. From reading publications such as New Scientist and TheEngineer, I was impassioned from an early age to lend a hand in the energy crisis; putting the two together yielded a wealth of companies, but none quite like Atkins. The tone and style the website piqued my curiosity and I threw my hat into the ring, determined to see if I was a good fit for the company.

I enjoyed my interview for the placement scheme, from the extended chat about what the company was like from (my now) colleagues, to the feel of the building, I was quite taken with the company. I was eager to see if I had a future with Atkins, and was delighted when I got an offer.

What do you do outside of the graduate development programme?

I’m quite the busy bee! I am the current chair of the GAP (Graduate, Apprentice and Placement student) Forum in Bristol Energy, where I represent some 60 people and have a direct connection to the senior leadership. The GAP forum is a fantastic platform to discuss and implement changes we want to see at the next generation of consultants, starting with how our formative years at Atkins are shaped and developed.

Everyone at Atkins gets two days a year of volunteering in the local community, and I heartily take this both, by helping out with local school’s careers fairs, to mentoring and supporting young people. Atkins has recently launched their LGBT+ network, and I am one of the committee members for the Bristol branch.

Finally, worth mentioning: I also set up the Ultimate Frisbee Club at Atkins Bristol whilst I was a placement student, and it’s still running! We play weekly, and in the summer months we really take advantage of the great outdoors with post-session pub visits and BBQs. We have a friendly rivalry with other engineering firms in the area, notably Rolls Royce!

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