Paul Parkes

Paul Parkes

What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?

I work for Atkins Ltd, specifically within their Energy Business. Within Energy I work for their Nuclear Business focusing on the 'Generation' department. Generation provides engineering consultancy work for existing nuclear power plants. This could be anything from checking the capacity of existing bolts on a wall to designing a new building on site, or even modelling the reactor core itself.

What is your role within the company?

As an industrial placement student my main roles involve authoring & checking technical calculations and providing support for larger projects.

Can you please give me an insight into a typical day?

I arrive at work at approximately 8am, organise work for the day ahead, and if required I send out meeting requests to other people working on the same project. Next, I begin work on the appropriate calculation/report/model as well as completing other work that becomes available. Following that, I have meetings to discuss these developments with the relevant line/project manager then begin to implement the changes in the calculation, or schedule the new work for the next day. During my half hour lunch I chat with the graduates in the business and gain an insight to new developments around the office. I finish work around half 4, however my hours are flexible allowing me to work longer some days and less others. From 4.30pm onwards I've got time to enjoy everything the city of Bristol has to offer.

What are you enjoying the most and are you involved in any interesting projects? 

The projects are all specialist and specific to the nuclear industry and sometimes are related to current events. I've recently been involved in a project to model the reactor core of a nuclear power plant. The project is considered to be at the cutting edge of computational modelling.

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

Industrial placements are a great way to gain experience before the end of my university career, thus making myself more employable in the future. Other solid reasons are the insight into the nuclear and civil industry, learning the realities of working life and gaining valuable technical & office experience.

Do you have any tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?

Firstly, decide if/that you want to do a year in industry, if you don't put the effort in its not going to happen. Secondly, apply to as many places as early as possible (October/November time).