Katie Wickham-Harrison

1. What is your job title and department?

My job title is Technician and I’m part of the Level Crossings team.

2. Why did you decide to pursue an apprenticeship at SYSTRA?

I actually started within the business as a Document Controller. I then moved into engineering and joined the Level Crossings team in 2018. The first engineering apprenticeship I completed was a Level 3 Railway Engineering Design Technician Apprenticeship which lasted two years. After completion of my Level 3 Apprenticeship, I then progressed on to a Degree Apprenticeship in Civil Engineering, which I am currently in year two of.

I choose to do an apprenticeship at SYSTRA as having previously completed an apprenticeship in Business Administration after leaving school, I knew this type of learning was well-suited to me. I don’t learn well just being stuck in a classroom! Prior to working at SYSTRA I had never considered engineering as a job that I would be interested in doing in the future. But, when the opportunity arose to start an engineering apprenticeship and move to the Level Crossings team, I was really excited to try something new.

The ability to study whilst earning money was a big selling point for me. I also knew other colleagues who had pursued apprenticeships whilst at SYSTRA, and they had had particularly positive experiences. This insight meant that my decision to pursue an apprenticeship was a really easy one!

3. What is the best part of your apprenticeship?

There are many aspects of my apprenticeship that I really enjoy, but for me the best part is actually the team that I work in. I have learnt, and continue to learn, so much from my colleagues - they all show a real interest in helping me to succeed, supporting me in work and also with my apprenticeship and university studies.

One highlight of doing my apprenticeships was when I was chosen to go to the House of Commons to collect a railway award on behalf of the York MP at the time - I loved that experience and it’s a great memory I have. Of course the main highlight is that when I finish my apprenticeship I’m going to have a degree, along with 7 years of industry experience and no student debt!

4. What would you say to someone considering an apprenticeship?

I would absolutely recommend going down the apprenticeship route to someone who is considering it. It takes a lot of hard work and it’s definitely time consuming, but the positives by far outweigh these challenges.

5. What project(s) are you working on currently and how are you going to #BuildTheFuture?

I am currently working on the Wessex Level Crossings project, which is going really well. I am building the future through my work designing three of the planned level crossings for this scheme, which will make it safer for future users.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

In my spare time I enjoy shopping, going for nice meals with my friends and travelling. I try to visit at least 2 new countries every year!

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