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Insights What's so great about the AtkinsRéalis Rail Graduate Experience?

My name is Fraser. I'm a graduate engineer who joined AtkinsRéalis in 2022, and I'm based in the Birmingham office.

Photo of Fraser Pinnock from AtkinsRéalis

Fraser, what do you do in the Safety Engineering and Independent Verification team in AtkinsRéalis Rail Consulting Practice?

Over the last year, I've worked on two key projects. One of the projects is on the Feltham and Wokingham Re-signalling Programme, where I carry out hazard management activities as part of the Common Safety Method for Risk Evaluation and Assessment (CSR-REA). This role is all about cooperating with the discipline experts on the project to identify safety hazards and mitigate them accordingly. These are all within the hazard record, which contains over 600 hazards!

My second key project is on East West Rail, which involves the recommissioning of an old disused railway between Oxford and Cambridge. My role on this project is to gather and present compliance evidence for structures along the railway, such as bridges, culverts, and earthworks. When technical queries are raised against the proof by the certification body, I must collaborate with civil designers to address the comments to gain the all-important approvals to run the railway.

What attracted you to a career in the rail industry?

I enjoy working in the rail industry because it offers a real opportunity to improve things for people as an engineer. There is lots of change coming for rail in the UK, so it's an exciting time to enter the industry, where I hope to contribute to making rail better for people.

I entered AtkinsRéalis as a complete novice to rail engineering. This was not a problem because the company didn't expect me to have any prior rail knowledge or experience when I joined and offered plenty of learning opportunities, such as training courses and online webinars, as well as project-based learning. The great thing about being a graduate at AtkinsRéalis is that we have many industry experts who are always happy to answer my questions and offer support. For example, I recently asked if I could learn more about the European Train Control System (ETCS). I found myself in a two-hour, one-to-one seminar from an ETCS expert within the team!

Photo of Fraser Pinnock from AtkinsRéalis in a railway cab

What is the opportunity or career paths after your graduate scheme?

At this time, I don't really know what my career will look like yet, which I find quite exciting. However, I do know that after my graduate scheme, I hope to continue to build on my skills and experiences by working on a wide range of projects. This will help me to gain chartership with the IMechE as I can build technical and leadership competencies as an engineer. I hope to have a dynamic career where I can continue to learn and develop while facing many different challenges. The project-based nature of AtkinsRéalis means that there will always be new and different opportunities available to me to do this.

What development opportunities are there at AtkinsRéalis?

As a graduate, I am supported in my desire to move around the business to gain experience with different teams on a range of projects. This is allowing me to develop different skills, build my network within the business and expand my industry knowledge, to get the most I can out of the graduate scheme. As well as project-based learning, I am also currently on a 13-month data course, where I am upskilling in my competence with handling and analyzing data. This learning opportunity is completely supported by the business, meaning I am able to spend time working on the course as well as applying what I’ve learned to projects.

I have also been given opportunities to get involved in various business activities such as strategy days within Rail Consulting, where I can gain an insight into how the leadership team manages the business and offer insights from an Early Careers perspective. This has been a great way to understand how the business works and how we can continue to grow as a consultancy.

How would you describe the Birmingham office community?

I love the Birmingham office; the building is located in the city center, so it is near to New Street station and loads of places to eat. The best time to be in the Birmingham office is at the end of the year when the Christmas markets are set up and on the office doorstep! Since I joined in 2022, the number of Rail Consulting staff based in Birmingham has increased significantly, which has been great to see as we've built a real team atmosphere, especially after our recent socials. As well as the Rail Consulting team, the office community is built up by the wider business. I've enjoyed getting to know others through volunteering challenges, 6-aside football, and, of course, at the office pool table!

Photo of the AtkinsRéalis team at Rail Live 2023

What do you enjoy outside of work?

One of my favorite things about working at AtkinsRéalis is the flexibility. The freedom to work the hours that suit me and work from home when I need to allow me to enjoy the other things in my life. Outside of work, I enjoy watching and playing sports such as football, rugby, and golf, and generally getting outdoors and exploring different places. I'm keen on visiting different European cities and enjoying everything they offer, especially the food! Some other things I like doing in Birmingham are pub quizzes, trips to the cinema, restaurants, and cafes, and walking along the canals.

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