1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
As an apprentice engineer I am directly involved with design work for projects we are currently working on, including taking on my own projects. I also have to carry out various admin work which is as a direct result of project work, which is part of the general procedure for any project. The projects are coordinated on a daily basis with both the clients and any other members of my team involved with the projects. I am responsible for the coordination and design of my own projects from inception to the final handover to the clients, taking on not only a technical role, but also a project management role. Every day is in fact different, with varying needs from being out on site carrying out meetings (with senior supervision) to being in the office carrying out the actual design work or admin work.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
The fundamental skills I have learned are mostly technical, with regards to mechanical engineering, which have been gained from a combination of college work and skills learnt from other experienced engineers along the way. I will be gaining a HNC in building services engineering, but would like to specialise in mechanical engineering and further my skills. I have taken part in various CPD seminars, with the hope of becoming chartered in the eventual future. I am looking to carry out some CIBSE based external training to aid my daily work also. I have also gained valuable skills in AutoCAD.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoy the technical side of the job, with the design work taken precedence, however, I work with a great team who have been supportive throughout the time currently, providing information that only experience could have gained you rather than through formal qualifications. The company also provides an excellent basis for this. It has generally met my expectations with no surprises on the way, and I have enjoyed everything up to here this far.
4. How valued do you feel by Atkins?
I feel like just another member of the company, but in a good way. I have had direct involvement with projects including my own projects ( with supervision of course), and I hope that I am contributing to the success of the company. Likewise, there has been no opportunity where I haven't been able to get involved nor make a contribution. We also got the opportunity to meet other apprentices within the company through an apprenticeship induction event in London, which provided a good insight into the business as a whole.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The induction was fairly lengthy but this applies to all employees and not just myself. Subsequent training has been provided throughout, however, some location specific items could have been conveyed a little sooner and more concisely. This has led to a slight fragmentation as such, but by no means does it deter significantly. I speak to my line manager on a daily basis, and likewise time for studying is readily supported. Tasks come directly from my line manager to all members of the team, however, other experienced engineers are available for information and help. Overall, it is as well organised as it can be.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The college I attend provides support at all times if you ever have any queries with an assessment of with the work itself, with them always being contactable. This reduces any issues massively and the teachers of the course are also available in person regularly at the college itself. They are always willing to offer help to you if necessary.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The HR department and general members are the office are generally very helpful and can be asked regarding a HR matter or regarding a technical matter where my knowledge or experience falls short. This is very easy to deal with and prompt to get a response. Anything above my head is easily rectified and you can access help where you require it.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The cost of living in Colchester is a relatively high and so the salary does it's best to support that, however, could most probably be higher as it always could. I live within cycling distance of my workplace deliberately and so general travel costs are minimal even when driving, however, if you were to be travelling further the salary may prove inadequate. The expenses scheme is generally good for any costs further than the daily commute. Socially is dependent on each individual entirely and so I would rate is absolutely fine.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are plenty of opportunities outside of work for various events with the company and also with external companies that we may work with. There are voluntary opportunities available, including working with local schools throughout the business. When I'm not working I tend to focus on my own hobbies and learning, taking advantage of opportunities as they arise.
9. Would you recommend Atkins to a friend?
There are two key reasons, which are the paid education whilst working and the work experience itself which is invaluable. This may just apply to all apprenticeships but Atkins is an excellent name in the building services industry to go with all the benefits of a general apprenticeship. The company has some great benefits in the package, and provides scope to further your career.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Atkins?
If you are so looking to apply for an Atkins apprenticeship, be prepared to balance the work completed for the company and the college work. It requires a fine balance when you are busy in both areas. Just ensure that everything that is asked of you is completed.
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