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Insights How to empower young people in choosing a career

Supporting young adults in choosing a career is crucial for parents, carers and teachers. We understand it can feel daunting and that’s why we’re here to help.

Atkins, operating under AtkinsRéalis, is a world-leading design, engineering and project management organisation. We connect people, data and technology to transform the world’s infrastructure and energy systems. 

Our world-class teams dare to see things differently while engineering a better future for our planet and its people. 

We support and nurture leaders of tomorrow through our Apprenticeships, Graduate Development Programme (GDP), and Placement schemes. When young people join us, we help them get the most out of their career, so we know a thing or two about empowering young minds.

Dive into three early careers routes available to young people at Atkins, and learn tips to guide career planning conversations.

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships empower young professionals like Millie, not only by nurturing their skills but with flexibility that support their development professionally, educationally and personally.

At Atkins our apprenticeships are open to all, and for recent school or college leavers, they are a practical alternative to university. 

  • Parents and teachers can support young adults in choosing apprenticeships by helping them research available apprenticeship opportunities in fields like engineering, architecture, technology, or project management and surveying.
  • Apprenticeships provide hands-on experience, allowing young adults to develop practical skills while earning a salary
  • Apprentices are supported with dedicated time out of the workplace to focus on their studies.
  • Apprenticeships feature events, core training modules, professional development mentoring and on-the-job experience.
  • All Apprentices are permanently employed from day one with Atkins.

What is a Placement?

Placements are a great opportunity for undergraduates to accelerate their careers.

At Atkins, our paid placement opportunities are tailored for students across all degree years, typically excluding the final year of study. Learn more about what to expect on a placement at Atkins.

  • Placements, also known as internships, are short-term opportunities for university students to gain practical experience in a specific industry or role. At Atkins we offer summer and industrial placements.
  • Parents and tutors can assist in identifying placement opportunities and in preparing application materials.
  • Placements offer a taste of the working world, enabling young adults to test their interests and build a network of professional contacts. They can also enhance a resume and make it easier to secure future employment.

What is a Graduate Development Programme (GDP)?

A Graduate Development Programme at Atkins offers invaluable experiences and professional growth. From designing entire cities to transforming manufacturing systems, we focus our business in the areas that have the most impact on the way we all live and the resources we demand from the planet. 

We provide design, engineering and project management services to various industries. Working at Atkins, you have the opportunity to ignite your career in engineering.

But you don’t have to be an engineer to make a difference in the world around us, we also offer non-engineering routes to Atkins on our GDP. 

  • Parents, carers and teachers can encourage young adults to explore and apply for these Graduate Programmes and help them to understand how to prepare a top application.
  • The two-year Atkins Graduate Programme provides structured career development paths, mentorship, and the opportunity to work on a variety of challenging projects, where they can contribute to engineering a better future for our planet and its people. 
  • We operate a culture of care, where graduates can be their authentic selves, reach their full potential and be encouraged to look after their mental and physical well-being.

How can you support young people in their career choices?

By following these guidelines, you can provide effective support to young adults as they embark on their career journeys:

Open communication

Encourage open and non-judgmental discussions about career interests and aspirations. Listen actively to understand their goals.

Research and exploration 

Help them assess their skills and interests, research different careers, industries, and educational pathways. Discuss the skills and qualifications required for specific jobs.


Recognise that career choices may evolve over time, and it's essential to adapt and support their changing interests. Read Sofia’s story about how she didn’t let an unrelated degree stop her from pursuing her passion

Skill development 

Encourage participation in clubs, activities, and work experiences that can enhance their skills and make them more competitive in the job market.


Facilitate opportunities for them to network with professionals and attend career events to gain insights into various industries.

They can come and speak to us at a careers event or register on our Connectr platform to connect directly with early careers mentors for advice and tips on applying. 

Stay informed 

Access resources like our parents and teacher zone. Keep up to date with current and future employment opportunities, especially in high-demand sectors related to STEM.

Why Atkins?

If your ambitious protégé becomes one of us, we'll help them get the most out of their career. Not only will they be surrounded by over 80 years of expertise, they’ll have the support and trust of management and senior leaders as they grow and develop.

Browse our Graduate Scheme, Apprenticeship and Placement opportunities. Join our Talent Community to stay connected with the latest news, early careers information and to be notified when applications are open.