How has your career developed since joining Mott MacDonald as a graduate?
Since starting as a graduate, I have been fortunate to have been given increasing amounts of responsibility, allowing me to branch out my technical expertise, providing me with the skill set to take my career to the next level.
I spent a year working in our Leeds office in the UK, before moving over to Manchester where I have worked since. The move meant I took on a greater role in developing business opportunities, a challenge I have relished.
Being asked to lead meetings, go to visit clients or coordinate works on site has taken me out of my comfort zone, but in a thoroughly positive way. It is always nice to know my manager is there to support me if I have concerns or need a friendly voice down the phone if there is an urgent issue on site!
Gaining practice in coordinating my own projects has been fantastic for developing a sense of responsibility and understanding of the complexities faced by the wider environment team. I am grateful that Mott MacDonald has had the confidence to allow me to do this.
Now with four years’ experience, my achievements as a graduate have meant I am now a project manager for environmental schemes. I enjoy that I am now a mentor to new graduates, helping them develop their own careers in the ways in which they want.
What are your favourite projects that you have worked on?
In central Manchester, we are part of the team designing and building a new railway viaduct, forming the keystone to a variety of railway projects collectively called the “Northern Hub”. The scheme has a number of environmental challenges, and I was fortunate to have spent time as the project’s environmental manager, based on the construction site. I was there to ensure that construction met the agreed environmental objectives, and also to tackle problems as they arose on site. The day a burst water main flooded the site was a stressful one, but being at the sharp end, having to tackle unforeseen problems, means I now have the experience to provide guidance to others on similar schemes.
What is the best thing about working at Mott MacDonald?
For me it’s the variety – both in terms of projects and the teams. Being part of Mott MacDonald gives me the opportunity to work on some of the most exciting infrastructure schemes, at both large and smaller scales. I have been involved with a number of disciplines, such as ecology or archaeology, benefiting both my professional development and my personal curiosity as to what it is that my colleagues do.
I love working in our multidisciplinary teams, with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. I believe this helps make ours an enjoyable place to work, and that this enables us to provide higher quality to our clients. Different perspectives help look for new opportunities and reduce risk, which is at the heart of how we provide services to our clients. Variety is very much the spice of life.
What do you think makes Mott MacDonald unique?
What makes Mott MacDonald unique for me is the sheer range of opportunities on offer, and yet without feeling overwhelmed by the size of the organisation. The environment team at Mott MacDonald is big, but I have worked with almost everyone in it in the UK at some point or other since I joined, and it has meant it feels more of a community. There are always opportunities for me to go visit other offices and meet people in person I have previously perhaps only spoken to on the phone. With a smaller organisation, there wouldn’t be such a large range of projects and disciplines to get involved with.
What support have you had whilst working towards your chartership?
I have a chartership mentor with whom I have regular catch ups regarding progress and what I should do to improve. I also have a line manager, and we have goals and objectives of the type of work I should be getting involved with to ensure that my projects align with my objectives for chartership. Getting chartered is taken very seriously at Mott MacDonald, therefore these objectives are an official target for me for the following year, and are recorded in a form which is reviewed regularly to track my progress.
What advice would you give to current students applying to Mott MacDonald?
I would definitely recommend students undertake a period of work experience or an internship, either with us or similar organisations. Graduate candidates who can demonstrate that they have an understanding of our business’ needs, and the way in which we work, will always stand out. It provides future candidates with an ability to demonstrate insight into our work and it also provides an opportunity for employers to see how well you work. It can also aid students with their university work, seeing how academic study is then applied by us.
I have been responsible for taking care of work experience and internship students, and it is rewarding to be able to work with them to develop themselves and work out their career objectives. Many of them are now working in my team with me every day in full-time positions doing a fantastic job.