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Insights Want to return to leading after your career break? Here's how.......

Meet Emerald Sofi, talented Associate Lead Software QA Engineer at Atkins, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group. After taking a five-year career break, to care for her daughter, Emerald joined ReDesign Programme – a returnship designed to boost careers through focused mentoring, on-the-job learning and opportunities to diversify skills. Since then, Emerald has worked in our Global Technology Centre's Digital Team as an Associate Lead Software QA Engineer.

Photo of Emerald smiling towards the camera

What made you return to the industry via Atkins' ReDesign Programme?

I liked that Atkins is a technology and people-oriented company with a flexible work culture that would help me work more productively. Also that the Redesign Programme is beneficial for women after a career gap because it doesn't limit our abilities.

What challenges did you initially face back in the world of work?

Getting back in sync with the latest tools and technologies per the current industry standard. I have found that Atkins always encourages and supports me as I upskill my knowledge. Managing work and life was another challenge, but the flexible work culture has supported me in properly managing this balance.

What do you do at the Global Technology Centre?

I lead a Quality Assurance Engineers team, testing plans, scenarios, scripts, or procedures. I am working on the Automation Library, a design transformation project, and on Assist, ensuring the application's quality through manual and automated testing using various innovative approaches and the latest technology.

What skills have you discovered you have, and what have you learnt since joining Atkins?

That I'm more of a technical and analytical person. Atkins is full of talented people with unique skills. I have learned many skills and acquired knowledge from the various people around me.

What keeps you motivated at Atkins?

Atkins motivates employees to take authorized external training, courses, and certifications. Everyone on the team has mentored and guided me to do more innovative and productive work. I've also received recognition and appreciation for any breakthroughs in my work, making me more motivated to work even better. If I look back, I'm far ahead now than before I joined Atkins.

Emerald, how are you celebrating International Women's Day?

I'm remembering the achievements and successes of various inspirational women in this world and my own. Sending greetings to all the women who've significantly impacted my life. And, of course, participating in various Women's Day activities to motivate other women to grow and achieve more.

How can we use innovation and technology for gender equity?

Technology has made the world small. Women can collaborate and communicate their opinions without any barriers. We can use technology to upskill ourselves no matter where we are. Nowadays, more women are working from home and doing innovative work with the help of the latest technology. Technology gives equal opportunity to all in this world, irrespective of gender.

Which female role model has supported your development the most inside Atkins?

We should learn from others, and to me, a role model is someone who lives by example in a specific manner and is unique in their own way. In my opinion, instead of following a single person, we should try to inherit good skills from subject matter experts to improve ourselves in both our professional and personal lives. So, at Atkins, it hasn't been just one person – I consider all the female supervisors or peers who worked with me role models for their specific skills. I've learned a lot from them. They have motivated, supported, and guided me to take my work to the next level.

How do you feel about your future with the organization as a female employee?

I've seen many women leaders at Atkins doing a great job, and the company really values gender equity. At Atkins, I always feel like I'm progressing on the correct path and that the organization provides plenty of room to climb up the career ladder quickly.

How would you like to work for an organization that embraces equity? Good news, we're hiring!