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Insights What does an Atkins intelligent mobility graduate do?

Meet Zenia Khajotia, technical consultant and assistant team lead at Atkins, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group. As an intelligent mobilities graduate, she works on future transport projects within various technical areas. In her work, she uses the latest innovation and technology to create more efficient, integrated and greener transport solutions. 

"As a young professional at Atkins, I can specialize or gain a range of experience in the field. I love being part of the graduate community—it gives me many opportunities for further internal and external training, secondments and regular socials.”

photo of employees riding electric scooters around a track

How did you discover Intelligent mobility as a career?

It definitely wasn't planned. I had studied geography, and then interned with a local council helping to create transport solutions, I did work experience with an engineering company and also a Town Planning internship with Savills.

When I came across the job opening, I thought it sounded super interesting. Suddenly, all my previous work experience and internships, which once seemed all over the place, were relevant and valuable for the role. 

I applied, attended Atkins' assessment centre, and from then on, I felt as though this was the role for me—and I was right. I'd always just grabbed opportunities I was interested in and this somehow led me to my dream role!

Tell us about a day in your life:

Day to day, I work on a wide range of transportation projects (usually two to three at a time) within highways, micro-mobility, electric vehicles, and bus and rail, predominantly for local council and government organizations.

For example, we deliver intelligent diversion routes on one of my projects. I create diversion route strategies using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and engage with stakeholders to put them into operation on motorways and roads across the UK.

I usually take on a technical consultancy or project management role on projects. If I'm project managing, I might be producing scopes and plans for the work we'll do or managing resources across the project team. If my project role is more technical, what I do can vary massively. I could be involved in many things, from research to delivering transport goals and solutions or writing reports.  

photo of employees on site

What has been a great project for you in your career so far?

East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) is the largest project I've ever worked on. ECDP is a consortium of Atkins, Network Rail, PwC, Siemens and many more companies and organizational bodies. This fast-moving programme is the UK's first intercity digital railway project. 

I am part of the project's Industry Change team, working toward the digital transformation of East Coast Main Lines, the stretch of railway from London to Edinburgh. My line manager thought I would be good for the role and put me forward. 

How are you and the team engineering better on the project?

The digital technology used in the programme will result in a more efficient and punctual train service. It will improve safety for staff who work on the tracks and reduce carbon consumption. Train drivers will also find it much easier to operate the trains.

What other opportunities have you had to make a difference at Atkins?

Giving back to communities and ensuring transport is inclusive is vital. We work closely with in-house social value and human factors experts to ensure all our projects are accessible to everyone. 

When we plan a demand-responsive bus service for a city, users may have to book their journeys through a MaaS (Mobility as a Service) app. However, we always ensure there are alternate ways to book via phone or online for those who can't access the app or aren't comfortable using smartphones. 

We also make sure vehicles are accessible for those with disabilities and special requirements, and fares will be made affordable. We try to make the vehicles themselves as sustainable as possible, for example, by using an electric vehicle fleet.

How do you make a difference internally?

I've been an active part of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) community at Atkins for over two years. I lead the EMBRACE Guiding Group. Our goal is to further our 'Different Makes a Difference' programme, raising awareness on ED&I issues and events and championing change across the sector. It's a lot of work on top of my day job, but something that I am really passionate about. 

I'm also a 'Mindfulness at Work Network' member and regularly support the early careers team with recruitment and volunteering for STEM events.

What keeps you at Atkins?

Cheesy, but it's the people and the exciting work. I joined Atkins as part of a large cohort of graduates, many of whom I now consider my friends rather than colleagues. My team is also fantastic. 

I also have a real passion for the projects I work on. The field of intelligent mobilities is varied, and there are many interesting projects to get involved in. It's impossible for me to get bored.

employees smiling towards the camera whilst out for a social evening

I appreciate the culture of flexible working at Atkins.

I've always danced and, during the pandemic, I took up tennis lessons. Working from home means I have so much more of my evening available to enjoy these activities, with the flexibility of working in the office when I want. I recently became an aunt, and flexible working has meant I have enjoyed much more quality time with my little one! 

What is mentoring like for you inside Atkins?

The organization recently launched a two-way mentoring programme. I applied and have been paired with a senior technical director in a completely different area of the business to me. This has allowed us to work alongside someone who we never would have before, who has different schools of thought and ways of working. 

What is the community like in the Intelligent Mobility and Smart Technology team? How do your colleagues inspire and support you?

My team has always been open, supportive, and fun to work with. I've also been lucky to have three line managers in my time so far who have always had my back and brought me great career opportunities. I'm also surrounded by great senior mentors and sponsors who take time out of their days to help me and care about my wellbeing and progression. 

There's always something going on in the Grad Community. We get together for great socials, including comedy club nights, pub nights, inclusive non-drinking socials, bowling and Christmas markets.

How is Atkins helping you develop personally and professionally?

Last year I took part in the INSPIRE Women's development programme, which is available to all female employees at Atkins at any level. The programme was great for learning new skills and tools to navigate the workplace. It also helped me to broaden my network at Atkins even further. 

I'm also currently revising for my APM Project Management exam and have started a Project Finance training course. I've chosen to do most of the training myself, and my managers have supported me.

What advice would you give about Atkins to a graduate looking for a graduate job/programme?

Research the company and the role to make sure it's right for you. Try to speak to someone who works at Atkins if you can, and just be yourself throughout the recruitment process. 😊 

Discover more about an exciting career in transport with Atkins.