We caught up with Micheala to discuss her Graduate Programme with Arcadis. We hear about the impact her work has on the wider business, what she has learned from her experience and the day to day tasks of her role. Micheala also gives some advice and inspiration for future applicants.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I was born and grew up in Luton, where I still live. I was the first in my family to go to university. My parents always wanted me to study at the University of Cambridge and so getting in was really a dream come true! I believe that hard work can get you a lot of places so never let anybody tell you can’t do something, because you can if you believe!
What inspired you to apply for this role?
I have wanted to become a civil engineer since the age of 8, when I was inspired by the Ancient Egyptian irrigation systems that I learned about as part of a project at school. Since then, I have gained more interest in the field of civil engineering, specifically the water and sanitation sector, through research and other projects I have worked on with an international NGO in Tanzania.
What inspired you to apply to Arcadis?
I had never heard about Arcadis before I was offered an internship. My offer came during a separate internship, working with another company which had sub-contracted Arcadis to carry out civil design projects. I then completed two consecutive summer internships with Arcadis while I was still at university. During these two internships, I had the opportunity to work on some of the largest projects going on right now (Crossrail and Thames Tideway). I also learned a lot more about the culture and opportunities within the company (look up the Lovinklaan Foundation for some inspiration!) and knew that if I was going to work for a large engineering design consultancy, it would have to be Arcadis!
What has been the single most important thing you've learnt so far in your job?
I have learned so much since starting my job last year, from technical knowledge to more “soft skills”. I would have to say that the most important thing I’ve learned is that opportunity is everywhere, if you only open your eyes. Be outgoing and talk to everyone - you never know what they can bring to your life.
What is your role and how long have you been at Arcadis?
I joined Arcadis in October 2019 as a graduate civil engineer in the Water team of our London office.
What would a ‘normal’ day look like for someone in your role?
I work a lot on detailed design, so often it’s a fairly desk-based job. There is a lot of collaboration involved and I work very closely with colleagues at our Global Excellence Centre in Bangalore to produce deliverables, such as drawings and 3D models. I also have the opportunity to visit sites where we are working and, before the lockdown, carried out a number of inspections along our canals.
What do you find most interesting with the sector/role you’re in?
Water is a basic service and human right. My job truly improves the quality of life of many people and knowing that is very fulfilling.
What is the Arcadis culture like?
My experience at Arcadis has been positive overall. My managers and team are very supportive and understanding, especially in times of need. My line manager in particular has taught me a lot and has given me a lot of opportunities to do a wide range of tasks. Although I have had the occasional issue, my line manager was very helpful in resolving these and letting me express all my feelings about what happened.
How important is diversity to you and what is Arcadis doing in this space at the moment?
To me, “diversity” is often used in the corporate world as a cop-out for actually doing anything tangible about the problems that marginalised people in the workplace face. Diversity without inclusion is pointless. I’ve spoken with many people who have been here a lot longer than me and something I’ve learned is that Arcadis is willing to actively face up to its faults and listen to the voices of those who are affected. Arcadis has many workstreams (such as race, gender, faith, LGBTQ+ and disability) which aim to tackle these difficult conversations, often with the senior leadership team present.
Finally, any tips for anyone who’d like to apply for a role at Arcadis?
Just go for it! Take a look at the job specification to see what the requirements are for the role and make sure you’re applying for something you can see yourself doing for 37.5 hours every week! If you’re unsure about anything, get in touch with the recruitment team as they are very helpful and keen to help brilliant people pursue a career at Arcadis.
Interested in what Arcadis have to offer? Find out more.