Georgina Carpenter, student at the University of Leeds

Georgina Carpenter

What does the company do?

AECOM is a multinational engineering firm offering design work, consulting, construction and management to a number of public and private sector clients. Major projects have involved Crossrail, HS2 and the Barclays Centre, NY. The firm has been awarded Number 1 Global Design Firm by Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine for the past 3 consecutive years. 

What was your role within the company?

I worked within the Strategic Planning and Advisory department (East Midlands branch), specialising in Transportation Planning. Transport Planning is about preparing, assessing and implementing policies, plans and projects to cater for future travel needs and challenges.  My main role involved overseeing development proposals to ensure they would not have a harmful impact on the transport network. I was also involved with consultancy, offering clients recommendations on how to make a development more sustainable in order to be granted planning applications. 

What did you enjoy the most and did you get involved in any interesting projects?

I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity associated with the role and the dynamic nature of projects. For example: one day I would be conducting empirical analysis and modelling, whilst the next I could be presenting to 200 children about sustainable travel in a school. Whilst on placement I was also involved with the delivery of a Personal Travel Planning (PTP) project, which attempted to promote modal shift away from unsustainable travel behaviours by engaging with the wider community in order to understand and overcome the travel barriers individuals’ face. This project gave me the opportunity to interact with a wide range of people, build confidence and ultimately impact other people’s lives for the better. 

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

I did a Year in Industry primarily to give me some career direction. Going into 2nd year I had absolutely no idea what sector I wanted to work in upon graduation,  but with the transport sector ticking a lot of boxes in terms of my interests and skills I thought I’d give it a go!

What do you think you have got out of this experience so far? 

This experience has been invaluable in providing me with not only career direction and work experience in a professional environment but skills that will be directly applicable to the rest of my degree. I was also offered a graduate position with the firm, which is very reassuring going into Final Year.

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

I personally would recommend that everyone seriously consider doing some form of work placement, whether a full year or just a summer internship. It opens up so many more opportunities, and provides you with valuable skills and experiences for your CV! Also, when looking for a Placement, don’t feel you always have to apply via ‘formal’ channels. I got my Placement through emailing a CV and covering letter to several companies I was interested in working for. This is often a good strategy if you’d rather work for a slightly smaller firm or one who doesn’t usually take on Placement students. It’s always worth asking… you have nothing to lose!