At 16, after sitting my GCSE’s, I was unsure as to what my next step should be. I began researching different career paths and came across Workplus. This was the start of my journey into investigating apprenticeships and a career in civil engineering.
Workplus was a great bridge between companies in Northern Ireland offering apprenticeships and myself. The application process was great, there were loads of companies to choose from and there was always someone on hand to help which made the process really easy.
I am currently working and learning as an apprentice Engineering Technician at Atkins. I have just started my 3rd year and am thoroughly enjoying the experience. I have enjoyed so many different aspects from meeting new people, learning new engineering skills and valuable life skills.
“It has been the best decision I have made in the last 3 years!”
For me, getting straight into work after school was very appealing. Progressing my professional career alongside my education gives me a strong foundation for my future career goals. Getting paid whilst completing my apprenticeship and coming out with no debt was also a big bonus!
I believe one of the real advantages of my apprenticeship has been the skills I have learnt such as on–the–job skills that you can only pick up from on site, the interpersonal skills from meeting new people as well as the unique insight gained from the actual work experience.
The projects I am involved in at Atkins are always different, I get to meet a lot of interesting people and I find the work itself really exciting.
“You’re always learning, you’re always achieving, there is always something to work towards.”
Atkins is a global leader in design and engineering. From designing end–to–end project solutions to pioneering new technologies and ways of working. I am currently based in the Belfast office and am working as part of the drainage design team for our Infrastructure part of the business.
The benefits of working for a global company include the getting to work with people from all over the world as well as the travel opportunities. Atkins offers secondment programs and year–long career exchanges where you can swap jobs and offices with someone else from within the company.
It’s great to work with and learn from people with varied backgrounds and cultures, I personally have had a really insightful time working with professionals in India.
The salary is also a big attraction.
“When I saw my first pay cheque, I didn’t know what to do with it.”
The monthly income is great because you can do what you want with it, it’s really nice to have money to treat yourself. I am actually in the process of buying my first car, an Audi A3, but I also do my best to save.
If you are thinking of applying for an apprenticeship I would just say – Go for it!
You still go to university or college classes so there is still an opportunity to engage in some of the typical aspects of ‘university life’ such as freshers’ programs and meeting other students.
I think more people need to realise that an apprenticeship is just as great an option as university – if not better! You get experience, qualifications and the possibility of a job offer at the end of it all. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door.