Why did you choose Atkins in the Middle East?
Since I decided that my career would be in civil engineering I have witnessed how pioneering engineering projects have bloomed in the Middle East putting this region at the forefront of engineering developments. Atkins is responsible for the design of some of the most well known landmark projects which define the region such as the Burj Al Arab, Dubai metro, Bahrain WTC, etc. With the opportunity to contribute to such exciting and challenging projects, Atkins was the obvious choice.
Tell us about your development since joining the programme.
My practical knowledge has improved significantly. It's one thing knowing all the theory you were taught at university but the application of it is completely different. I have been involved in many different projects and the diversity of these means that with each project new skills are developed and knowledge is gained and so the degree of responsibility increases.
Apart from on-the-job training there are many online courses designed for self-learning such as health and safety, sustainability, etc. Furthermore presentations on specific subjects of interest are organised through the graduate programme so if you feel there is something that hasn’t been covered but it is important it can be arranged. This all contributes towards Chartership which I hope to achieve within the next few years.
Tell us about a typical day at Atkins.
Since I started working with Atkins there hasn’t been a day that repeats itself - that’s one of the advantages of working in such a dynamic environment. I have been involved in six different projects in the 10 months I have been here and in each one I have developed different skills. Not even the location remains the same, having spent three months in Doha, Qatar. The one thing you can count on is that you will be challenged and kept on your toes on a daily basis.
What is the most unusual thing you have done since joining?
For me all the experience at Atkins has been unusual as it is my first job in an engineering company - from travelling to other countries for work to having face-to-face interaction with the client at such an early stage. However, the most unusual thing I have gone through in the UAE was going for a barbeque on the beach, getting stuck in the sand and being rescued at 3am by the Sheik of Umm Al Quwain and his entourage.
What tips would you give to graduates relocating to the Middle East?
The obvious one is be prepared for the weather. Temperatures soar during the summer time so if you come during this period make sure you wear appropriate clothes and carry a bottle of water. Another tip is to get informed of local and different cultures. A lot of the countries of the Middle East have a big population of expats from all over the world and you may find that what is acceptable back home is not acceptable here or vice versa. You need to keep an open mind and be patient as life has a different pace here. Apart from that just enjoy the ride and try to take in as much as possible.
Tell us about the Atkins graduate community across the Middle East.
The graduate community is very big and diverse. We are all in the same boat living away from home so we are quite close, and although we are spread all over the region we make sure we are in contact and support each other. The good thing about this is that no matter where in the Middle East you have to work there will always be someone to hang out with.