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Insights What can you expect from an ADS&T apprenticeship?

The Aerospace, Defence, Security, and Technology team at AtkinsRéalis plays a vital role in ensuring national security and resilience, safeguarding air passengers, and supporting governments in achieving their security objectives. And our ADS&T apprentices aren’t pushing paper, or making rounds of photocopies. They work on exciting emerging technologies across mission-critical industries while helping to shape the future. 

You only need to hear from our Hames, Oscar, and Tash to understand what we mean.

James and Oscar study project management, working as Project Controls Officers. Meanwhile, Tash, also a project manager, contributes her skills to our Transformation, Delivery, and Consulting team.

We were curious about what drew them to an AtkinsRéalis apprenticeship and why they chose ADS&T to kickstart their career. So we sat down with them to hear about the exciting projects they’re working on.


James: I did A-level Mathematics, Economics, and Physical Education. 

Oscar: I began my Level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering (BTEC).

Tash: I studied Business, Economics, and History at A-Level - a good blend of analytical writing and business understanding. 


James: During my final years at school, I started researching further education pathways and discovered aerospace apprenticeships. In my eyes, what I could gain out of an apprenticeship far outweighed what I'd get from university.

Not only would I get to study and obtain a degree, but alongside this, the opportunity to grow within the organization, gaining valuable skills and experience while networking with market-leading individuals to further my knowledge.

Oscar: I learn best by 'doing' the task rather than learning theory. Simply learning and revising ideas has rarely developed a deep-rooted understanding for me. The aerospace and defence apprenticeship route allows me to learn on the job, applying my professional development to my studies.

Tash: Gaining experience in the workplace while studying for a degree has been the ideal launchpad for my career. I'm already applying some of the skills I've learned and have built a network of like-minded people. By studying for a degree in project management, I can learn skills to use in my current role to help me work towards my chartership.


James: Aerospace, Defence, Security, and Technology are four completely different sectors, all within one business, ADS&T. This variety allows me to experience a whole range of roles and projects. I'm developing insight into how different sectors deliver projects, communicate with clients, and run day-to-day tasks. This multidisciplinary exposure gives me the best knowledge and understanding to make informed decisions on my career trajectory.

image of James

How does ADS&T support you to manage personal interests and work?

Tash: We have an internal network called Viva Engage, where employees can join groups based on their interests. I enjoy sea and inland sailing, so I've joined the sailing group. We're encouraged to talk about our out-of-work interests with colleagues, and it's great to be part of a network of people who share the same passions.

Recruiting new apprentices is another of my interests. AtkinsRéalis has given me the opportunity to present at a career fair at my old school. I was proud to represent the organization and advocate for engineering and project management degree apprenticeships.

image of Tash

Isn't it daunting to join such a big organization as an apprentice?

James: When I joined AtkinsRéalis as a defence apprentice the social aspect of work immediately struck me. Everyone is extremely friendly and always willing to have a chat. There is always something going on, such as coffee mornings or evening meals, where we get the chance to have some time away from work and socialize with other employees from across the organization.

Throughout the year, we organize larger events that bring the entire office or team together From summer gatherings to winter parties, these occasion allows us to enjoy each other's company outside the office environment.

This social side of work has helped me integrate into different teams. By getting to know people personally and feeling settled, it becomes easier to collaborate on tasks and projects


Oscar: As I write, it's Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) month here. AtkinsRéalis is using this month to highlight how everyone, no matter the person, should feel included and comfortable to be their true selves at work. 

AtkinsRéalis has made it clear how they're working hard to imbed inclusivity into our culture, recognizing that not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s also a catalyst for innovation and progress. We each bring an array of amazing, fresh, and distinct concepts, and together we can make a difference

of Oscar


James: I work across two projects as PCO, with my primary responsibilities being organizing cost models and timesheet data. I ensure the data is accessible for all involved before helping to create Project Summary Reports to keep both projects running according to monthly forecasts.

One of my main challenges is that I'm still new to this role and must learn the systems and processes. So, each month, when I receive the financial data, I must ensure its accuracy. Occasionally, something is amiss, and my job is to find where the error has occurred and how to fix it. 

Oscar: I'm currently working on a couple of big projects as PCO for one of our confidential clients. My main challenge is making sense of the data on the screen. Many of the spreadsheets I am working with are massive, with huge tables full of numerical data, and it can be overwhelming to the untrained eye.

I scour timesheet data and update the project cost models, which shows how our team’s time is allocated. I'll create reports for the project manager to update them on key aspects that will influence decision-making.

Tash: I'm involved in the Apprentice Challenge this year. It's an internal project, and my team's brief is to embed the non-financial benefits of social value within ADS&T. My role is project manager, making sure the project runs on time and successfully. 

I'm proud of the tangible impact our social value project is making. Social value is an important component of bids for government contracts, so it will help AtkinsRéalis to win more government bids. And, depending on the initiative we choose, it will have a real impact on society.

Take a closer look at our ADS&T apprenticeships

Are you curious to explore new horizons and embark on an exciting career journey? Consider AtkinsRéalis as your next destination.

As a member of our ADS&T team, you will be exposed to a range of projects, from advanced defense systems to critical infrastructure protection. Ultimately, you’ll be helping us reach our overarching mission - engineering a better future for our planet and its people.

Dive into the world of ADS&T apprenticeships and discover how you can play a part in shaping the future of critical industries while advancing your career. 

Don’t miss our Early Careers Interview Guide for our top tips on how to ace your interview and secure your spot in our apprenticeship program!