What attracted you to apply for a placement with Atkins?
I applied for the ICE QUEST Scholarship before starting university and was successfully awarded the scholarship in partnership with Atkins. Under the scholarship, I got part of my tuition fees paid for by the company, but most importantly, I gained summer placements after each year of university.
What attracted me to Atkins was that I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to specialise into within Civil Engineering. With the company’s range of disciplines, along with the high profile projects, I really wanted to be a part of the company.
How many placements with Atkins did you complete?
I have completed three placements lasting at least 8 weeks;
Oil&Gas – 2013 Rail Design Solutions – 2014 Ground Engineering - 2015
How would describe your roles and responsibilities?
My roles on each summer placement have been different due to the varying projects I have had the opportunity to work on. However each has challenged my abilities and improved my knowledge of the engineering world.
My responsibilities ranged from compiling Annual Summary Reports for the North Sea oil platforms, the design of trimming beams and masonry walls on the Birmingham New Street/Birmingham Gateway project and more recently, checks on the foundation bearing capacity on multiple sites on the M1 Smart Motorway project, and slope stability analysis of the M25 Junction 30 project. Atkins really want their placement students to get a real hands on experience whilst you are with them!
What have been your top 3 highlights?
It’s difficult to choose but I’d have to say;
Working with other summer placement students, engineers and architects on the Birmingham New Street/Birmingham Gateway projectWorking on a range of projects, each with a different problem to challenge my abilitiesBeing a finalist in the Ground Engineering New Generation Awards, thanks to the support of the Atkins Ground Engineering teamDid you find conducting a placement helped you in your studies?
Definitely! Working on projects like Birmingham New Street/Birmingham Gateway, and M1 Smart Motorway, I learnt the breadth and depth of knowledge in the design of structural elements to apply what I had learnt to courses on my university degree. Furthermore, the placements give you a better understanding of the CDM regulations which certainly helped when trying to pitch my team’s chosen design and construction method to our lecturers.
Following your placement, did you find it easier to obtain a graduate role?
Having worked in the Ground Engineering part of the business the previous summer, when applying for a graduate role in their department, I knew I had to showcase my abilities in teamwork and decision making and demonstrate my knowledge in my chosen field. In the interviews, I found it easier to give examples of the skills the interviewers were looking for due to completing these summer placements and gaining so much experience along the way.
What advice and tips would you give to others for the future?
If you are unsure about where to go in Civil Engineering, I would highly recommend applying for the ICE QUEST Scholarship, even if you think you are certain of your chosen discipline. Try out as many different fields as you can, the more experience you have behind you, the easier you will find a graduate role.
What are your plans for the future?
My plan is to become chartered with the ICE with the help of the Atkins Graduate Programme. I also want to contribute to the field of energy geotechnics by researching into thermal energy extraction from geotechnical elements such as foundations, retaining walls and tunnel linings.