1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am part of a Structural Engineering and Civils (Drainage) team in a multidisciplinary office. I carry out organisational tasks, perform basic structural calculations and anaysis. I undertake drainage design work and some basic structural scheme designs from large school extensions, to basic renovation/alterations. I also carry out structural surveys for council owned properties, including some historic buildings. I do my own CAD drawings for my designs,and model structures in Analysis software as well.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have developed many new skills having no experience in such a role before hand, and have significantly improved my existing skills such as my writing skills in general, presentation, my computer skills, and even my social attributes have improved from carrying out surveys which involved interaction with the client. I have also been on a number of short training courses paid for by Atkins, to further develop my knowledge.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
As in any job, some days are less exciting than others, and on occasions I may not enjoy a day at work. The Majority of this is caused because of my own insufficient knowledge regarding my task at hand and so this can be a frustrating part of working in such a technical environment. However that environment is why my job keeps me interested and the variety of tasks that I carry out prevents things from becoming repetitive. Regarding the education part of my programme, I don't really enjoy it but that's school for you! I just see it as worth doing for the oportunity to work in my role.
4. How valued do you feel by Atkins?
I feel extremely valued by my colleagues and seniors and feel very welcomed by the company locally. As Atkins is such a large company it is difficult to get a feel for my individual value to them, however I feel the company really does appreciate the effectiveness of apprentice level employees. The company has dedicated resources for helping their apprentices and we were even treated to a big event in London where we were introduced to some key senior staff within the company and to each other.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The Apprenticeship programme within Atkins is a very well stuctured with a vast number of apprentices taken on across the country each year. These are for all sectors and a variety of levels. Personally my day release at college (part of my apprenticeship) has not gone entirely to plan however that was caused by the college itself and not Atkins.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I have always found that (understandably) education establishments fall short of providing an in depth training and the time to support students properly. As we attend college once per week, there is little time for them to give us, or us to ask for, in depth support. Having said this, my current college is far better than another I have attended before starting my apprenticeship.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My Colleagues at Atkins have been very supportive and willing to train me up and generally help me out with anything. Outside of work related support i havent felt the need to ask for support myself however the company does seem to have many ways in which people can find support for all manner of issues.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I have to drive a considerable distance to and from work, and as a young driver owning and insuring such a car uses roughly half of my income. I live with a parent and feel that I would struggle to afford living by myself, even if I moved closer to my place of work. As I am still living with with a parent, I have a reasonable sum of my salary per month which is not spent. Compared to other apprenticeships at this level, my salary is very generous, and I also received an (also generous) raise within my first year, which was not expected at all.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are regular office organised events, and socials per year as well as non-regular social events that take place quite regularly, a group of people sometimes challenge other local Consultancies to 5-a-side football matches, and similar out-of-work activities do come up. Ive yet to find anyone to share my interests with outside of work however my interests are not all that conventional, plus my office is one of the smallest of Atkins' offices so you're more likely to find like minded people to socialise with in other offices.
9. Would you recommend Atkins to a friend?
The company is extremely large and diverse with huge potential to grown your skills and eventually even work abroad, or climb the large company ladder. The company offers interesting projects to work on and the opportunity to work among highly experienced, skilled people and possibly other young apprentices and graduates.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Atkins?
If you are considering applying for an apprenticeship with Atkins, be prepared to commute a fair distance or even relocate for it, as once you are in the company, you will have the chance to go very far. Atkins is also very team orientated and showing this ability will do you great favors. Showing self confidence with the eagerness to learn, and a passion for the subject you will be working in will make you a noteworthy candidate.
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