1. What is your job title and department?
My job title is Technician within the Development and Infrastructure team.
2. Why did you decide to pursue an apprenticeship at SYSTRA?
The main reason I decided to join was because I saw the global scale that SYSTRA was involved with. I had a couple of options that I could have chosen and a few interviews, but in terms of weighing them all up, SYSTRA was the best option for me in terms of mentorship, progression and in terms of the potential opportunity for me to work abroad in the future. It’s exciting! I thought about how I could have different experiences with different people abroad - even if not in the early stages of my career, when advancing in the company and branching out there’s always that potential. I like the idea of growing within an organisation, rather than constantly just leaving one place, and going to another.
SYSTRA have been very supportive. Having just recently joined the company, I’ve found that my Line Manager has been there, every step of the way. He’s giving me great guidance. I got the impression during my interview with my Line Manager that I’d be able to learn new things in this role, whilst also developing my current skillset so that I could become the Engineer that I aspire to be. Not only that, but the development road proposed to me during my interview seemed like an excellent option.
The interview process itself was very smooth, it was amazing to be honest with you. Both the Line Manager and Associate Director interviewing me came across as very genuine and easy to talk to. It made me feel as though there would be no issues if I ever needed to ask for help - I felt comfortable and like I could be myself, which is really important to me.
3. What is the best part of your apprenticeship?
I’d say the best part of my apprenticeship is the fact that I get to work with a global and diverse company, whilst also gaining invaluable experience.
I also don’t feel like I’m in a situation at SYSTRA where I’m being held back in terms of the work I’ve been doing. Fair enough, I’m a Technician, but I’m not just cornered into Technician work - I’ve got room to progress in terms of the difficulty of the work so that I can be challenged. It’s very important for me to feel challenged. The main reason I left a previous role was because I wasn’t feeling that way, and that was due to the work I was doing - I was constantly being held back. I’m at a stage in my career where for me, it’s important that I do face challenges - diamonds are formed under pressure after all! It might be hard in the moment, but the outcome and progression that comes from that is great. I was looking for somewhere that could push me to reach my full potential. I always want to be learning something new, developing in some way, and SYSTRA allows me to do just that. It’s a big reason why I joined the company.
4. What would you say to someone considering an apprenticeship?
I’d advise them to do it. It’s a very smart route to take, especially if you want to get into the field that I’m in. You’re getting education, and you’re also getting experience at the same time. I studied a Foundation Degree at university, and although I felt as though I was being taught things, I didn’t feel like I was gaining practical experience that I could use. I think for some people their first experience in this industry is a bit of a shock to the system after leaving university - doing an apprenticeship enables a smoother transition as you don’t feel as though you’ve been thrown in the deep end so much. Not only does an apprenticeship improve your communication skills with regards to working with colleagues and developing client relationships, but it also shapes your mindset in terms of improving your organisation skills and ability to meet deadlines.
In addition, one significant benefit that comes with doing an apprenticeship degree is the fact that on completion you can go out and do your IEng (Incorporated Engineer) accreditation with the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) - it’s a big positive as it shows you’ve got experience in a working environment.
5. What project(s) are you working on currently and how are you going to #BuildTheFuture?
I’m currently working on a couple of preliminary schemes for National Highways. This has involved analysing existing and future traffic flows and designing capacity improvements in line with the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB). Working on these projects so far has definitely been beneficial for my development, as in my previous role I was mainly working with residential design - this project has been a great introduction to the DMRB standards for me.
It is very important for the strategic road network to operate safely, now and in the future, ensuring that major roads have sufficient capacity to facilitate residential and economic growth in the North of England. It’s great that I’m getting involved!
6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In my spare time I play football and go to the gym. I also enjoy travelling and getting to see different buildings and infrastructure (whether it’s in a different country or the UK itself). I went to Serbia a few months ago and it was nice out there. I didn’t really know what Serbia would be like, but I went to the capital city Belgrade which was really modern. They had a few old buildings, but I think it’s really been developed - they’re investing a lot in new buildings and creating new areas for the country.