My internship at SYSTRA

Through the Graduate Apprentice scheme, run by networking organisation BPS Birmingham, I’ve had the opportunity to undertake three four-month internships at leading businesses in Birmingham. I applied to take part in the scheme shortly before graduating from the University of Birmingham in 2016 with a degree in BSc Business Management. Having studied such a broad degree, I didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation so it seemed a great way to discover what I might want to do, build my professional experience and introduce me to new contacts.

After four months at investment company Business Growth Fund, and four months at recruitment firm Katie Bard, I started my final internship of the scheme in May at transport and engineering consultancy, SYSTRA. I have to say that prior to starting at SYSTRA I had no idea what transport consultancy involved, but I was very excited to learn about another new industry!

Something which has been very different to the other two companies is that I’ve been able to work with different teams in the office. I’ve already taken on a range of different tasks within transport planning, ranging from the completion of transport assessments and travel plans for new development schemes, to assessing junctions and creating maps using GIS. Undertaking such a variety of work has been very useful as it has allowed me to improve different skills as well as find out more about what types of tasks I enjoy doing. By working in different teams, I’ve also been able to get to know different colleagues who have all been very encouraging and supportive.

Outside of work I’ve taken part in various social activities such as the Colmore BID Community Games. This sports event was a great chance to compete with my SYSTRA colleagues against other businesses in Birmingham in a range activities, including touch rugby, golf and a mini biathlon event. Despite not winning, I enjoyed the competitive element of the day and I was also able to get to know some of my colleagues. Another memorable event was Birmingham Young Professional of the Year, which celebrates exceptional young professionals within Birmingham’s professional services sector. This glittering awards ceremony was a wonderful evening of good food, dancing and networking.

I feel that my time on the Graduate Apprentice scheme has really helped to improve my employability. I’ve been able to pick up useful skills, learn about three completely different industries and make lots of new contacts in Birmingham. Not enough young people have the opportunity to try out different potential career paths before they commit to a particular area. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet so many different people and to work on such a variety of projects, and I’d definitely recommend the scheme to other graduates who want to try out different industries before deciding on a career path.

I’m looking forward to starting a graduate scheme in London in September where I hope to be able to use many of the skills I’ve developed over the year.

By Kizzy Ramah