A day in the life of an apprentice technician at Atkins - Jessica’s story

Jessica knew university wasn’t right for her. After careful research into civil engineering apprenticeships, she found one with Atkins and applied. Now she’s earning whilst working towards a BTEC qualification.

Want to know what it’s like to work on big engineering projects like Crossrail or HS2? As an apprentice in the rail industry, you’ll work towards a qualification while working on some exciting projects. Plotr caught up with Jessica, an apprentice at Atkins, to find out more about her role.

My day starts…

My day starts at half six in the morning! I live quite far away from where I work, but my aim is to always get to work for 9am. Luckily, I have flexitime at Atkins, which means that if I am late, I make the time up later in the day.

I’m responsible for…

I’m an apprentice technician in PWay (permanent way). This is the design, construction and maintenance of the railway. I assist others on their projects and get a lot of hands-on experience of how a project works.

I work mostly with a computer aided design (CAD) programme called Microstation, editing and creating drawings that assist with the design of the railway. Every day is a learning experience! I’ve been working at Atkins for six months now, so I’m constantly introduced to many new concepts and business phrases.

I got my job by…

Whilst in my last year of A-levels, I wasn’t sure whether to go to university. I didn’t like the concept of moving away from home or the debt that comes with it, so I looked into apprenticeships. That was when I discovered that an apprenticeship was for me - you’re getting paid whilst learning and gaining key work experience.

Whilst looking for civil engineering apprenticeships, I stumbled across Atkins. I researched the company and learned that it was a leading engineering, design and architecture company with offices internationally. Once I found this out, I had to apply!

APPLYING: The application process was fairly easy - I sent off my CV and answered some questions that required me to write 500 words for each.

INTERVIEWS: A week or so later, I had a phone call from Atkins informing me that I’d been shortlisted for the interviews. The interview consisted of a group activity and a one-to-one interview. I was really nervous for the interview, as it was my first job interview! Luckily, the manager and my (now) team leader were really friendly. I had a gut feeling that it went really well and I was in with a chance of getting it. My feeling was confirmed a few days later when I got the apprenticeship!

On a normal day I will…

Once I have arrived at work, I login to my computer and check my emails. Most of the work I do on a day-to-day basis is working on Microstation, editing drawings for other people. But every day can bring something new, a new drawing, a new project or even a new sector.

After I’ve checked my emails, I’ll ask around if anyone needs a hand with work, which can lead me to working on big projects such as HS2 and Crossrail. It can also lead me to working for other sectors on my floor that may need some help, such as structures, which allows me to expand my knowledge and experiences.

My best moment was…

My proudest moment whilst working at Atkins would probably be the first time that my name was on a drawing as the drawer. This means that when it’s sent out to clients, my name is there, with my signature, giving me recognition for what I have done.

The best part of my job is…

The best part of my job is completing a drawing to a good standard. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and feeling part of a team as I’ve helped get out an important drawing.

My job hunting tip is…

Keep on searching and never give up! There’s always an opportunity waiting out there for you to discover.

If you want my job, you should…

There are many routes to where I will eventually be when I’m fully qualified with a degree. It’s down to the individual to know what would suit them best. For me it was an apprenticeship, but for others it might be to go to university and then join the graduate scheme, which we have here at Atkins too.

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