Consultancy and Engineering Awards: Atkins blaze a trail for women and youth

Atkins staff receive their award on stage.

Investing in talent development is at the heart of any industry-leading firm and this year the judges felt that one company, Atkins, should be awarded a Special Recognition Award for confronting and addressing the problem with their commitment to apprentice, technician and graduate development.

Investing in young people is widely recognised as being vital to the future of the industry as well as the long-term stability of the UK economy.  This not only means seeing young talent them as a collection of qualifications but helping them to develop other vital life skills too.

Scare stories abound in the industry about the skills gap time bomb that is ready to explode due to the lack of children choosing to study STEM subjects and subsequently consider a career in engineering. The industry faces challenges that it needs to face head on.

With three apprentices shortlisted for Apprentice of the Year, and two engineers shortlisted for Young Professional of the Year, the judges believed that Atkins is blazing a trail to show its contemporaries how to rekindle interest in the industry.  Of the five shortlisted candidates four were also young women, demonstrating Atkin’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion as part of their overall business strategy.

Equally important was how Atkins was thinking much more creatively about the role they help their young people play within their communities and within society. They have recognised the difference volunteering makes to a young person’s horizons and encouraged them to discover that when they are valued and respected by others, they value and respect themselves more.

Many of Atkins’ young people are STEM subject ambassadors visiting schools to deliver the important message that a career in engineering is rewarding, challenging and motivating.  How better to engage school pupils than for them to see a mirror-image of themselves in a few years’ time standing on the stage inspiring them to join the growing workforce that is building Britain for them and their future.

In the words of Allan Cook, chairman of Atkins: “A more inclusive and diverse workforce is a business imperative.  We have to explore and find innovative solutions to inspire, recruit, retain and motivate the best talent from across the entire population”.  With this kind of transformational leadership and belief in releasing the potential of their people, it will be difficult for Atkins to fail.

Judges’ comments
“In an environment where many companies are looking for solutions to a growing problem of recruitment, Atkins has demonstrated a true commitment to the training and development of young people and are ahead of the curve in terms of their progression. Atkins has given their young people the opportunities to succeed and put their ambition at the heart of the company ethos to harness the skills and creativity of young people to meet their business goals.”