Josh Rae – Case Study


My name is Josh Rae and I work for Atkins Transportation within the Transportation Communication Systems team. Our main client is Highways England where we complete design and construction support for the Smart Motorway Programme projects that Highways England offer to tender. I began my Apprenticeship with STEGTA in September 2015 where I am undertaking a Level 3 Diploma in Engineering, Construction Design and Draughting, alongside a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Electrical / Electronic Engineering at Trafford College.

I started my further education attending a sixth form college studying four A-Level subjects. As I was keen for money, I also worked a part time job which accounted for the majority of my time. Due to the demands of my college work and my part time job, I was struggling to have a balanced work/personal life. This was the major point that influenced me to apply for an engineering apprenticeship.

I chose the smart option as far as I’m concerned; I get paid to do my job whilst getting qualifications which are paid for without an inch of student debt! This was the best of both worlds for me as I am still gaining qualifications and earning money as I was before, but with a greater work/personal life balance.

A typical day in the office for me consists of working and modifying Smart Motorway designs, updating drawings on CAD, resourcing for staff/projects and finding new opportunities for work. This involves a lot of communication via emails, Skype conference calls, face-to-face meetings and using Atkins project management systems. The work I mainly produce is drawings for construction of Smart Motorways on behalf of Highways England. I support senior management with resourcing and pipeline opportunities which is giving me a huge business management/development perspective which many apprentices would be lucky to be involved with. I have full understanding on resourcing requirements between projects and skill sets which need to be considered. This also leads on to recruitment as we are constantly on the lookout for the missing skill sets we currently don’t have. The majority of this work is chasing, facilitating and advising senior management on updating the director/project manager Atkins tools which we have available.

My STEGTA Training Officer Helen Wilson, supports me in my day-to-day role at Atkins from more than just an educational perspective. Helen gives me guidance on my college work, NVQ and career development taking my apprenticeship forwards past Level 3. As well as offering her technical support with my NVQ, Helen has a huge focus on my health and well-being and supporting me in the transition from student to a professional apprentice working within the design and consultancy industry. I couldn’t have a better all-round training officer and training provider if I danced for it!

The benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship are something an education cannot possibly give you. This is industry experience in a real-life competitive market. As an apprentice, you are learning the job inside-out from the bottom upwards, you are not able to skip anything as you start with no/basic knowledge of your role. This benefits apprentices’ because you become a robust employee with knowledge and experience which is passed on from senior engineers. You are given the opportunities many may not have as you have a flexible career path. There is no smarter option than choosing an apprenticeship career path!

Once I have completed my Level 3 Apprenticeship, I hope to progress to higher qualifications. My final end goal as an engineer will to achieve a Bachelor’s of Science and become a Chartered Engineer.

The additional activities that I am involved with at work are setting up an apprentice forum for the corporate business. I have initiated the idea from day and I am mothering this corporate body to grow as a fully fledged forum within all business in Atkins. I have a strong belief that everyone has the right to a voice in a company no matter what grade or authority you may have. The apprentice forum is giving apprentices an official line of communication throughout the corporate company to have their say on business changing matters and improvements. Also, I have taken on board an Office Safety Champion role where I am responsible for leading all office safety checks in compliance with the Health and Safety at Work Act and conducting office safety inductions.

I received the Award for Excellence on the Engineering, Construction, Design and Draughting qualification in February 2017. I am really proud of my achievement and feel like I have made good progress since September 2015 and this award signifies this to me, but also identifies that there is still room for improvement. I couldn’t thank Helen Wilson (Training Officer) enough for recognising my development and being a strong support along the way of my apprentice journey so far. I’d like to say thank you to STEGTA but especially Helen Wilson and Rebecca Suckling for my award.