Are you thinking about the future? We are too

Atkins is working with the Armed Forces to solve complex challenges.

Dave Clark, who leads the company’s Aerospace and Defence businesses, explains why that relationship matters now, and why it will become even more important in the future.

We’ve been working with the people and organisations that protect our national interests since the Second World War. From the early days of providing specialist design and consultancy services, we’ve now grown to become one of the largest suppliers of project delivery, digital and engineering support to the UK Defence market.

We’ve worked closely with many Service personnel during that time, as well as with our colleagues in government and industry. It makes sense for us to continue that relationship with veterans and reservists who are transitioning to a new career. That’s because they bring fresh ideas, new ways of working and valuable experience to our team. That, in turn, enables us to provide a better service to our clients.

Attracting and retaining talented people from diverse professional backgrounds is more important than ever, especially given the scale of challenges we face. For example, our team is involved in:
• Protecting vital data and systems from a range of emerging cyber security threats, as part of our support for the Ministry of Defence.
• Identifying improvements to the projects and programmes that help to maintain the UK’s continuous at sea deterrent (CASD).
• Supporting the transition to a low carbon future through our work at the Hinkley Point C power station site in Somerset, which is the UK’s largest infrastructure project.
• Helping to shape the Future of Flight. We’re leading a consortium that’s exploring how an air taxi service could benefit residents in the south-west of England. We’ll then test the technology in live airspace. 

Currently, we have more than 120 veterans and 50 reservists working across Atkins and they all make a valuable contribution to many of these projects. 

Often, we find people who transition from the military into the private sector have strong leadership and organisational skills, which they can draw on if they choose to further their career with us. Sometimes, they also have project, programme and change management experience, or technical and engineering expertise, which are all vital to the service we provide.

Fortunately, many of our veterans and reservists are good at overcoming challenges and enjoy solving problems because that’s what we do day-to-day, regardless of the project we’re working on. They also work well under pressure, which is important, because we operate in deadline-driven environments.

Many of our teams worked remotely before the COVID-19 pandemic, collaborating on large projects, so we had the infrastructure in place to continue to provide high-quality services to our clients even when our movements were constrained. Having said that, we realise that while some people thrive under the new technology-led arrangements, others prefer to engage with colleagues in person. As we move forward, we’ll need to find ways to retain the flexibility we’ve developed, as well as provide more agile and adaptable workspaces.

We’ve been formally recognised for the support we offer to veterans and reservists who are transitioning to a new career, and to our Armed Forces employees. Last year, we re-validated our Gold Award under the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme, which includes maintaining our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant. In 2019, we also signed the Women in Defence Charter to help encourage more women to consider a career in the Defence sector, and the Women in Aviation & Aerospace Charter to help ensure more women working in those industries have the opportunities they need to succeed.

In addition, Partnering with the Armed Forces is our company-wide advocacy programme. Through that, we offer support and advice to colleagues, support established charities and engage with members of the wider Armed Forces community.

We also offer fixed-term contracts so spouses or partners can work with us for the duration of a military posting.

Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group is one of the world’s most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies. Together, SNC-Lavalin, a global fully integrated professional services and project management company, and Atkins help our clients plan, design and enable major capital projects, and provide expert consultancy that covers the full lifecycle of projects. We are proud to have worked for over three decades with the UK MOD on some of the most critical systems and infrastructure projects, covering the maritime, land, air and cyber domains.

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