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Insights How opportunities can transform your project management career at AtkinsRéalis

I studied civil engineering at Edinburgh University, where I was sponsored by Tarmac Construction and spent two of my summer vacations working as a site engineer on their construction projects. While at University, I was in the Territorial Army. After graduating, I decided my immediate future lay in the armed forces, so I successfully applied to join the Royal Engineers. After a further two years of officer and military engineer training, I started what would turn out to be a 16-year military career with a posting to a combat unit in Germany.

Photo of Verity smiling towards the camera

Moving into civilian life

After the initial five years of my military career, I wanted more of an engineering focus, so I opted to specialize in military construction. I then spent two years completing a part-time MSc in Military Construction Engineering at Cranfield University in parallel with secondments to the civilian construction industry to gain the necessary design and construction experience to become a chartered Civil Engineer. Following this, I put my uniform back on to take on a role supporting the RAF.

When I left the army, I moved to a major US engineering company to take on a project management role for two years overseeing a design and build contract of a training college in a remote border area of Pakistan. This fantastic project required all my people management and delivery skills to coordinate successful delivery by geographically dispersed design and construction teams.

Directing my own career path inside AtkinsRéalis

I joined AtkinsRéalis, as an Associate Director in 2014. My first role was as project manager of our design team, working on a heavy manufacturing workshop refurbishment and upgrade at the BAE Systems submarine manufacturing facility. I then got offered an opportunity I could not turn down; the chance to be seconded to the biggest infrastructure project in Europe, High Speed 2. Initially, I joined Phase 1 of the project (London to Birmingham) as a Project Manager responsible for all enabling works required to build the new Curzon Street High-Speed rail station in central Birmingham.

Thriving on a wide range of projects

I then utilized the knowledge and experience I gained in this role on Phase 2a of the project (Birmingham to Crewe), supporting the HS2 procurement team to define and write the enabling works contracts to support this next stage. Having developed valuable procurement and commercial experience, I moved into a Senior Project Manager role delivering one of these projects; a multi-million-pound highways scheme to upgrade the rural road network supporting the construction traffic needed to build the railway.

A new chapter of discovery and learning

Having recently been promoted to Project Director, I look forward to returning to my practice in due course to apply my skills and experience in what I am sure will be a new and exciting stage in my AtkinsRéalis journey.

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