Meet Beth, a Stakeholder Engagement Consultant

Beth Pelling

Stakeholder Engagement Consultant


What drew you to work at AECOM originally? What would that be now – has it changed?

I was originally drawn to AECOM due to the range of sectors that AECOM worked on, as well as its global reach; it was an exciting prospect to be part of a company that had global opportunities and wide ranging expertise. It was clear from researching the company that AECOM took pride in its corporate social responsibility whilst helping to deliver social, environmental and economic change through infrastructure. If I was applying to AECOM now, I would be drawn in by AECOM's commitment towards leaving a sustainable legacy and work towards leaving a positive impact on communities and the planet.

What is your role at AECOM?

I am a consultant within the Stakeholder Engagement, Consultation and Communications team. My day to day role is extremely varied depending on the project. A major part of my job is to support clients in the delivery of consultations ahead of the submission of planning applications, for example a Development Consent Order. This involves working collaboratively with technical teams across a project to produce public friendly consultation materials including exhibition boards, brochures and promotional materials, as well as stakeholder and community engagement prior to consultation launch and throughout project delivery. We also organise and facilitate consultation events, collate and analyse public feedback and report the findings. A further element of my role is to help manage engagement with technical stakeholders including local planning authorities, to gain feedback on proposals and help progress detailed designs.

How long have you worked for AECOM?

I’ve worked at AECOM since December 2020, joining as a Graduate Stakeholder Engagement Consultant. I joined the company during a lockdown which was challenging trying to meet my new colleagues and adapt to the role through a screen, however everyone on the team was incredibly supportive and welcoming.

What do you like most about working for AECOM?

I love the varied nature of my role, and that I had the opportunity to work on multiple projects at a time early on in my career. This has allowed me to gain experience in different sectors, including rail, road and energy, and the growing nature of our team means there are always new opportunities to get involved in other areas of the business, such as the Digital Strategy, or Sustainable Legacies. A key part of why I love working for AECOM is the people; working within a diverse team that is incredibly knowledgeable and supportive is really motivating and I have learnt a lot from my team members.

How has AECOM helped you in your career development?

I have been supported by my team and my managers throughout my career development, including increasing my responsibility on projects and being promoted within my team, but also in my aspirations to relocate and transfer from the Leeds office to Aldgate in London.

How do you use AECOM’s ‘Freedom to Grow’ to give you a good work/life balance?

I use AECOM’s Freedom to Grow to work flexible hours that fit my schedule; I play tag rugby and netball during the week, so Freedom to Grow really helps me balance my time in the week, allowing me to take part in the sports I love!

How do you find hybrid working works for you – what benefits do you get from office working, site working, and home working?

I make the most of being able to get into the office and work alongside my team members as I find it more motivating to work alongside people, especially as you are able to talk through solutions or action plans in real time, rather than through MS teams! Equally the ability to work from home when I feel like it also benefits my mental and physical wellbeing as I am able to break up the day with a lunch walk or work around evening plans or sport team commitments.

What has been your favourite project to work on at AECOM?

I would find it hard to narrow down a favourite project, as each project I have worked on has been very different, however I have really enjoyed working on the Transpennine Route Upgrade East of Leeds, which is a rail project that includes a number of interventions to significantly upgrade the railway between York and Leeds. I have worked on this project since I joined AECOM in 2020 and it has allowed me to work collaboratively with teams from different disciplines, including planning, environment and heritage to facilitate technical stakeholder engagement and maintain consistency in project messaging across public and stakeholder workstreams.

Thinking about the projects you are involved in - how do you help to improve social outcomes for communities?

Consultation is a key method for local communities to have a voice in the planning process, and allows them to share their views on infrastructure or development projects being proposed in their community through channels such as working groups, public events or meetings. We also work with our clients to help understand and acknowledge any concerns local communities may have to minimise objections to proposals.

For the Transpennine Route Upgrade East of Leeds, the proposals will help provide greener, faster and more regular rail journeys between York and Manchester, improving mobility and connectivity for local communities. Through technical engagement on the project, our team helps manage feedback from technical stakeholders such as local planning authorities, historic and environmental bodies and landowners to mitigate potential impacts and contribute towards progressing proposals to a detailed design stage.

What’s your proudest moment at AECOM?

My proudest moment so far has been receiving my promotion from Graduate Consultant to Consultant in April 2022 after being at AECOM for just over a year. It feels great to be part of a team that wants to help you advance and develop your skills and experience in the industry wherever possible.

What have you gained from working at AECOM?

I’ve gained invaluable experience of working in different sectors, including rail, roads, energy projects and master planning. I think it’s been great as a young professional to have exposure to multiple projects at once and I’ve found this has massively improved my ability to multitask and adapt. The opportunity to get involved with areas of the wider business has also been great, and has allowed me to expand my professional network, for example working with the digital teams as part of the Digital Strategy, working on our team's Sustainability Strategy and People workstream, and taking social value days to give back to communities.

What advice do you have for any prospective candidates?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and if there is a particular area of interest you have or want to explore, make sure you raise it to show your enthusiasm. Additionally do your research into recent projects AECOM have worked on, particularly the team you are applying for a position in. If you are able to come to an interview with examples of how your expertise could contribute towards a particular project that will come across positively and show you are invested in the company’s performance and portfolio.

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