3 Top Tips on Starting Your Rail Career at AtkinsRéalis
"Contributing to the future of sustainable and efficient transportation, One Rail at a Time"
– Makaita G, Graduate Engineer
Makaita, what do you do in AtkinsRéalis' Rail Consulting team?
I am a third-year graduate engineer in the Communication and Information Systems team within Rail Systems & Infrastructure. I joined the graduate scheme in September 2021 after completing my undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Materials Science and Engineering.
Since joining the graduate scheme, I have been involved in various client projects. I have worked on Rolling Stock projects with Transport for London (TfL) supporting the delivery of the S7/S8 heavy overhaul and program lift.
I have also worked with the TfL Commercial Support team, providing engineering expertise to facilitate rolling stock procurement for bespoke components required for the overhaul. I also worked with the London Overground team, aiding in project handover from contractors to London Overground.
Embarking on a new career journey is both thrilling and filled with challenges. Here are my '3 Top Tips on Starting Your Rail Career at AtkinsRéalis,' followed by essential advice for anyone beginning their professional path with us:
1. Be eager to learn and ask a lot of questions. Everyone in the team is always happy to help, and they will appreciate your curiosity and willingness to learn.
2. Make sure to network at every opportunity you get and build strong relationships. Connect with colleagues from different offices and other professionals in the industry and find mentors who can support your professional development.
3. Set goals for yourself and work with your line manager to define them so you can stay focused on what you want to get out of your career.
What attracted me to a career in the rail industry
Some graduates have direct experience of working in the rail industry through placements or their studies. However, a lot of the graduates on the scheme come in with no prior direct experience, and that's where having those transferrable skills is very valuable. Roles in Rail Consulting benefit from skills that are transferrable from other industries and, most importantly, your willingness to learn new things.
When I joined the graduate scheme in 2021, I had no direct experience working in the rail industry, but I was able to bring in transferrable skills from my studies. Throughout I have had loads of opportunities to gain experience on the job on projects, through online training modules and learning directly from industry experts - who are also my colleagues!
How AtkinsRéalis supports me in achieving my professional development
In the Rail Consulting team, we are supported throughout by having a mentor for professional registration. I'm currently working towards achieving chartership with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).
My mentor has been fantastic in supporting me with this. We have catchups throughout the year to check in on how I am progressing with my professional development, and he gives me advice on some of the things I need to be doing to fulfill my competencies.
Within AtkinsRéalis, we also have an internal IET Development Scheme, which helps promote and enable staff to effectively attain professional registration as a Chartered Engineer or Incorporated Engineer. Regular events are hosted throughout the year to network with other people on the scheme and to also get advice and support on fulfilling your competencies.
What I enjoy outside work
Outside work, I enjoy taking long walks when the weather is good, baking, which I started during lockdown, traveling, and salsa dancing. I think that at AtkinsRéalis, we have a particularly excellent work-life balance. We have a flexible approach to work, which is amazing and something that you don't get in other companies. For me, this is great because work-life balance means that I can take better care of my physical and mental health and pursue my other passions and hobbies outside work.