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Sarah Blick, Assistant engineer, Atkins


Assistant engineer

When did you join Atkins?

July 2012.

Why did you join Atkins?

Atkins has a really good reputation for graduate development and I had been involved in designing some of the project work as part of my degree programme at the University of Birmingham. I was also keen to get involved in some of the high profile projects Atkins is able to procure.

What did you do before you joined Atkins?

I studied a MEng Civil Engineering with Industrial Experience degree at the University of Birmingham and worked with different engineering design consultancies for all three of my university summer placements.

How would you describe your role and responsibilities?

I’ve had a really varied role in the two years I’ve worked for Atkins’ Highways & Transportation (H&T) business and have been given a number of very different opportunities. I’ve spent around one year on highways design and the other in the bridges team. As part of this I’ve been given opportunities to travel to India to work with colleagues there and been seconded to Coventry City Council for a few months. My work to date has been predominantly technical, but I’ve also been involved in graduate development activities as part of the graduate forum and H&T graduate forum.

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

I tell people that I design roads and bridges. Many people associate ‘engineering’ with people who spend their time getting dirty but this really isn’t the case!

Do you have any professional accreditations?

No, although I am working towards chartership with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

What key projects have you worked on?

High Speed 2, Tame Valley Viaduct in Birmingham, East West Rail and Friargate Bridge in Coventry.

What are you currently working on?

Friargate Bridge, this scheme will see Junction 6 of the current ring road in Coventry redesigned across a brand new 100m wide, 35m span bridge, which it shares with a grassed area and a new public boulevard.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Charity work in Uganda in 2013 through the Engineers for Overseas Development (EFOD) West Midlands branch. I supervised construction of an extension to a community centre for a rural community who would go on to use the space for communal gatherings and hire it out for conferences, generating an income. Earlier this year the EFOD team won the Team Achievement Award for this work at the ICE West Midlands Awards.

How has your career developed at Atkins?

During my relatively short career I’ve been able to work on high profile projects in the highways and bridge design sectors. I’ve worked directly with clients and experienced a different culture and way of working during a secondment in India. Alongside this, I have worked with the H&T Forum to initiate and coordinate the Management Shadowing Programme and the Graduate Secondments Programme to India. I’ve had a great chance to get a really broad understanding while working towards chartership with the ICE.

How have you been supported during your career development?

Atkins’ Graduate Development Programme enables graduates to network and help each other achieve accreditation with a relevant professional body. Through line manager, regional director and project manager support I’ve been able to work on projects which have been interesting to me and met my development needs. The learning and development team also work very hard to support Atkins’ graduates.

How do engineers and Atkins make a difference?

Engineers have designed almost all the infrastructure in place in modern society. Without civil engineers there would be no modern buildings, drainage, utilities or transport networks.

How would you describe the culture at Atkins?

At Atkins everyone seems willing to help and give up their time, even if they’re not associated with the project or issue you’re working on. There is a great community and regular social activities are arranged to strengthen this.

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