We spoke to Lily Robinson, an Apprentice Civil Engineer at Arcadis, who has recently joined our High Speed Rail Apprentice Network.

Can you describe your role in a few words?

As an engineer, I get to do technical engineering, project management and commercial work. I get to work with a variety of different people. My team builds rail structures and sub assets for a range of big and small projects, designing and making CAD models for this. I get a lot of opportunities to move around in my first few years so I have a range of experiences and can challenge myself.

What were you doing prior to your Apprenticeship?

I was at college – I took A-levels in Maths, Chemistry and Product Design.

What was your perception of the sector before you started your apprenticeship?

I thought that the rail sector was somewhere with a lot of opportunities. There are so many big rail projects, and I feel that rail is something that has so much room to grow. It is something we will use a lot for the next few decades, so it would be nice to be a part of that development. When I talk to people from the sector, I learn new roles, jobs I didn’t even know about, and how much work and how many people are needed to make even the smallest projects go round.

What interested you in joining Arcadis?

The people first attitude of my company was appealing. Arcadis focusses on learning and the development of its staff, and I always thought that if you have a good team, you will be more likely to get high quality work.

What are the key things you’ve learnt so far in your job?

So far, I have been with the project management team, so I can focus on that attribute of my Institute for Civil Engineers before going into the engineering side of things. I have learnt about the processes that we go through to get our documents to our clients on time and developed my confidence in talking to people. I have also learnt a lot about the specification for our structures and the certification process based on this specification.

What is the most exciting part of your role?

I get to be a part of different parts of the sector, not just engineering. This means I get to talk to and learn from so many different people. Getting experiences no one else may have whilst I am learning is exciting.

Have you worked on HS2 yet?

Yes, at the moment, I am on HS2 N1N2, working with the project management team and taking part as a member of the document control team. This means I help manage the checks of comment sheets relating to the project that quality assure documents and drawings, which will then be issued to the client. I create and present meeting slides to ensure that the certification for the sublot I am working on gets issued, and soon I will be looking at checking the certification of the project with my team, to start to develop my knowledge of engineering processes within the company.

What would you like to do after completing your apprenticeship?

I would like to progress more. After I have got my IEng, I would like to start to work towards my CEng and be chartered, maybe even get my masters. I would like to keep on moving, learning, and improving.