Daisy Atkin

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Civil Engineering
Job title: Transport Planner
Subject of study: Geography
Year of graduation: 2013
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Awcock Ward Partnership

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

When I left Exeter I joined Devon County Council in their Strategic Transport Planning team. I began to pursue a masters in Transport Planning & Engineering, but soon realised that this wasn’t for me. After a year I left DCC to enter the world of private consultancies, and have since worked for two well-known civil engineering consultancies in their Transport Planning teams. I currently work for a local firm based in Exeter, where I work with the Transport Technical Director to manage a team of Transport Planners and apprentices. We work across all sectors, but most predominantly in residential development with local house builders.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I have always enjoyed the concepts behind town planning and transport, and having grown up in the Netherlands I came from an ideological world where cycling and public transport integrated seamlessly which I wanted to bring to the UK. I love the work I do, particularly exploring innovative designs to transport issues and promoting sustainable modes of travel over traditional car use. I am heavily influenced by good design practices and I am interested in the role which well-designed spaces can play in forming better places to live.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

I was an active member of the University Chapel (Mary Harris) and spent my second and third year working for the Chapel in a number of roles. I was (and still am an honorary member) part of the University bell ringing society, the Exeter Colleges Guild. Apart from that I dabbled in the obligatory subject-specific GeogSoc and was also an active member of the Methodist and Anglican society (MethAng) and the University LGBTQ society.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

The obvious highlight was the field trips which we undertook in second year. I was lucky enough to go to Iceland, which is a geographer’s dream! I learned a lot in my degree and am fortunate enough to use it day-to-day in my career.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

The beautiful campus has to be a huge bonus. There are so many wonderful places to explore and you can choose to either be in the hub of it all or go for a walk to chill out amongst trees and wildlife. I loved the social groups I had and the work I did for the University through alumni giving.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

The location and campus took my breath away when I accompanied my dad on a business trip to Hatherly Labs when I was 14. I immediately knew that I wanted to study at Exeter and that was what I worked hard towards throughout my IB.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Do as much as you feasibly can outside of your degree. Whilst your degree is obviously important, I found that employers are particularly interested in your extra-curricular and ‘soft’ skills. I organised a number of events for societies and employers saw this as my ability to lead and manage projects. There are tonnes of transferable skills which you will learn as part of your degree, so use them wisely and don’t be afraid to show them off!

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Start getting in touch with firms for summer internships or work experience weeks early on. We fill up a year in advance so it is worth thinking ahead. Approaching the company directly is always a good move as I think it shows initiative and drive. Make sure you know a bit about what it is you want to do and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What are your plans for the future?

I love the sector I have found myself in and I am fortunate enough to work for a very supportive company where I will be able to continue to grow my career. I am looking to stay with AWP to climb up the ladder to Director, but also to obtain my professional qualifications to become a Chartered Transport Planner.


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