I heard about Jacobs through a friend who did a placement there and who told me what a great reputation the company has. So, when I saw that it had a new office in Manchester, and having decided to remain in the city, I applied and was accepted into the company’s graduate scheme. I haven’t looked back since.
The graduate scheme is tailored to the individual, so you’re given your own responsibilities and objectives from the start; the company focuses on who you are and where your strengths lie. Before I came here I never expected to work in highways engineering, as it was only one element of my degree. However, I’ve found it thoroughly enjoyable. We work on a variety of projects; so far I’ve been involved in a huge highways network transformation programme with Manchester Airport. Going to see the progress of this has been very exciting; knowing that I’ll benefit from it myself as a commuter – and understanding the tangible difference it will make to my fellow commuters – is so satisfying. I’ve also been working on a project developing cycle routes in Cheshire. The network runs throughout the county, so that cyclists have linked pathways to get around more safely. I’ve been given a lot of freedom to handle the design work for that, which has, for example, involved liaising with quantity surveyors and client representatives.
I’m also involved in company networking, which is really fun; I’m on the graduate committee, so I help organise professional development and networking events. I’m also responsible for social events in the highways department.
I’ve learned that saying yes and throwing yourself into things means you could be given some really great opportunities. I had the chance pretty early on to lead a small team from our operations in India. It was great to be allowed that level of responsibility as a new graduate and, while communication was certainly challenging – particularly because their understanding of road systems is very different to ours in the UK – being able to experience their culture was amazing.