30-year old civil engineer Rachel Tarling claims she has often been in the 'right place at the right time' in her career, but in reality she has also been willing to put herself forward for jobs that look interesting and would help her move ahead.
She is currently seconded from Atkins Rail into Trans4M, a joint venture in which Atkins has a 25% stake that is responsible for upgrading a large part of the London Underground under a 30 year public private partnership (PPP) arrangement.
'We do inspections and assessments and designs of bridges and structures, ' she explains. 'I look after 3,500 assets on the sub-surface lines.
They all have to be inspected to make sure nothing is dangerous, then everything is assessed to develop a programme of repairs.
The work is a lot more strategic than I've been used to in the past, and I really enjoy making decisions and prioritising activities.'
Tarling's secondment to Trans4m ends in May 2005, but she would like to stay.
'This is such a huge opportunity, ' she says. 'There will be roles coming up within Trans4M and also on the client side [Metronet] that I'd like to try.
'I could imagine staying for another couple of years then going back into Atkins as a manager. The firm is so big that I could pretty much get a job anywhere in the country without moving company.' She has also got her eye on the company's rail office in Denmark and its involvement in the rapidly expanding rail network in China.
Despite claiming she has been lucky in her career, Tarling admits: 'I have been quite forceful to get what I wanted.
'The opportunities are definitely there for people who want to grasp them, ' she adds. 'Atkins is good at identifying people with a bit of drive and creating the opportunity.'