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Getting technical

Careers profile - Atkins' Design & Engineering Solutions division has training and expertise at the core of its business.

Design & Engineering Solutions (D&ES) employs 4,400 people, predominantly engineers, architects, surveyors, scientists and planners. They work in five main areas of operation: defence and aerospace; water and environment; oil and gas; nuclear and power; and building design.

'At the heart of Atkins' offering is our technical capability, ' explains D&ES managing director Ivor Catto.

'We invest a lot on training to ensure people can reach their heights as technical people.' There are three routes to promotion through the company: as technical experts, project or programme managers or through general management skills. 'We don't see one as being higher than the other, ' says Catto. 'All three are very much equal.' The oil and gas business specialises in the structural integrity of offshore platforms, while engineers in defence and aerospace work on projects such as the wings of the A380.

Water and environment engineers work on everything from long-term frameworks with utility companies to single, major projects, while the firm also has an ongoing contract to help with structural aspects of nuclear decommissioning.

The company is currently multidisciplinary design engineer for Bay Point - the tallest tower to be built in Wales.

Sarah Williamson n Sarah Williamson joined Atkins in 2006 as senior engineer in a team based in Whitehaven that provides structural engineering support to the mechanical engineers working on decommissioning at Sellafield nuclear power site. Before that she spent six years as a lecturer in structural engineering at the University of Birmingham and the University of Salford.

'I enjoyed teaching and always thought of academia and practising engineers as part of the same thing, ' she explains. 'While I was lecturing I carried on doing consultancy.' Williamson's main area of expertise is the behaviour of concrete structures. This - coupled with a desire to return to her homeland of West Cumbria - made a job on Atkins' Sellafield team ideal. 'I was brought up in this area so I've always been aware of issues surrounding nuclear power - especially its legacy, ' she says.

Rajeevan Rameth n Rajeevan Rameth is in his second stint as an Atkins employee having first joined the company in Dubai to work on the iconic project that includes the Burj Al Arab hotel. When that project came to an end he left to work on the Dubai Marina with another consultant, then came to the UK for a job on the Heathrow Terminal 5 design.

Rameth returned to Atkins in 2006, when the company took over as consultant on the Dubai Metro design, where he was a team leader. 'I like to work on large projects and I'm pretty sure Atkins will be involved in those projects in the future, ' he explains. 'I want to grow with the company rather than having to jump around.' He is now an associate with the firm, and is currently design team leader for the structural design of a large mixed use development in Islamabad that includes three 130m high towers and one 240m high hotel tower in a seismically sensitive location.

Rameth enjoys travelling, and may yet return to his native India if the right opportunity comes up.

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