I’m Rob, graduate mechanical engineer at Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, in the UK. I think I was always destined to end up in engineering. It started with my ‘unhealthy obsession’ tinkering with anything mechanical when growing up, and led to me taking STEM subjects at school.
So there wasn’t any definitive point in my life where I made a conscious decision to go into engineering, it was more a natural progression. But outside of that I think I’ve always loved a challenge and I often view engineering as a problem solving in the real world – by making it my career I’m just doing what I enjoy as a job.
Atkins works in many different industries where I can take the initiative and be a part of many big and small projects. On the grad scheme, I knew I’d have the opportunity to move offices and experience different parts of the business. When looking to the future, I found the possible career flexibility at Atkins very attractive too. It was very much the same when looking at the benefits a job with Atkins could bring me. For example, we get many discounts on cool products and services.
How would you describe working at Atkins?
We have a great culture here at Atkins, the company genuinely cares for me and my priorities. So I can fit my work around the rest of my life. Being able to buy more days of leave has given me a lot of time off each year.
Everyone supports one another here and there is an excellent formal support structure in terms of management and development. We have a big emphasis on training and getting everybody on the appropriate courses. I think that’s really important for the development of all the staff here. We also have one of the most inclusive work places. The company is always aiming to improve that and lend a hand to anyone in need. Beyond that we just have a really friendly workplace!
What do you love about Atkins?
One of the best things about working for Atkins is being able to have a say in the type of work I do and the training I go on. If I ever hear of an interesting project and ask to get involved, there’s a good chance I’ll be able to work on it. I’m valued for my perspective and recognized for my contributions. We also have a really good social side where we organise trips away, we have sports clubs and regularly have mid week socials. Being able to have fun and relax with work friends and make connections outside of the office is at the heart of what makes Atkins a great place to work.
What excites you about engineering?
With public and political pressure towards green energy, the energy industry is going through so much change. It’s resulting in a lot of exciting and new projects. For example we’re working on SMR (Small Modular Reactors) which is a completely new part of the industry. Even outside of energy we’re seeing a lot of new technology emerging which is feeding into every industry. We’re especially seeing so many opportunities opening up in emerging markets that didn’t exist a few years ago!
Should I consider a career in engineering?
It’s definitely a career choice that won’t limit you, Engineering has so many different sectors which you can move around and enjoy a broad range of possibilities. Right now we have a shortage of engineers and the world will always need more, so it’s a career path that will keep you in work! I’d advise trying to get some experience in engineering as an intern because often the work engineers do isn’t always accurately portrayed.
However it should also be noted that there is a downside to being an engineer. If you do your job well most people won’t notice, but if you do your job badly, buildings will fall down!
What has surprised you about working in engineering?
It’s exciting just how technical my job is. I wasn’t expecting to be using textbooks and doing the large calculations that I do on a daily basis. There’s also a lot more emphasis on the business side than I was anticipating – even as a graduate I’m responsible for considering costs, business implications and clients in everything I do.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I love rock climbing and going round the country to different climbing spots. But I’m also trying to teach myself Spanish… with a limited amount of success.