Careers with SYSTRA

Graduate Experience - Jon Williams

Assistant Transport Planner

The last semester of University, an exciting yet unnerving time for any student. As the real world beckons and those last few assignments become somewhat more crucial, Wednesday nights slide down your priority list, replaced by the worries and realities of finding that ‘perfect graduate job’. For me, this was no different, and in February 2016, whilst completing my MSc, I came across SYSTRA’s graduate opportunities.

SYSTRA Ltd employ a wide range of disciplines, combining multiple skill sets from economics to engineering to deliver some of the world’s most complex transport projects. This is what drew me to SYSTRA, the diversity, not only amongst its people but the range of projects, schemes and opportunities SYSTRA work with on a daily basis. After submitting my application in February, I was thrilled to receive an interview in March 2016 and was offered a position in the Reading office as an Assistant Transport Planner two weeks later. Amidst the initial excitement of securing the job, SYSTRA were excellent in assisting my move down to Reading, offering advice throughout the closing stages of my thesis whilst also meeting up for drinks prior to starting.

Within my first week at SYSTRA, I was immediately involved in a project, working for a client to produce a Transport Note for a residential redevelopment in London. Although transport planning was new to me, I felt capable with the task ahead, using familiar data analysis skills to provide valued input to a report, not too dissimilar to various assessments at University! Within my first month, I attended a two-day training course in Westminster, aimed specifically for graduates like myself to share experiences and develop a knowledge of transport planning and the key concepts, policies and terminology I would be exposed to on a daily basis. The course provided me with the confidence to jump into opportunities that, three months earlier, would be alien to me. By using the skills I’d learnt throughout my time at University, I was providing valued input into a range of projects, having the confidence to deliver my thoughts and advice on a range of residential, mixed-use and leisure development projects.

Approaching six months at SYSTRA, I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work on such a diverse range of projects, attend various networking events and work alongside such a knowledgeable and experienced team. I’ve had the chance to meet clients, travel to numerous development sites across the South, attend various social events and even pick up the wooden spoon in the office bake-off competition. Although the opportunities and responsibilities given to graduates at SYSTRA can be challenging, the exposure to the full cycle of a development project is incredibly rewarding. From marketing SYSTRA’s services to new clients, producing fee proposals and preparing transport statements, the opportunities have enabled me to develop a much greater understanding of the industry, appreciating how SYSTRA operates and the ways in which the company pulls together to utilise the multi-disciplined range of skills and specialists across the UK.

Would I recommend SYSTRA to graduates? Yes. Don’t be side-tracked by the initial ‘scare’ of working life, be pro-active and make the most of the transferable skills you have. Not only will you provide a wave of fresh ideas and valued skills to SYSTRA, you’ll thrive on the opportunities you have presented to you in such a fast-paced, growing industry.