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Graduate Experience 2018 – Stuart Clayton

After joining SYSTRA in January 2018 as a Graduate Transport Consultant in Leeds, I’d like to share my experience and give a little insight into what life at SYSTRA holds. I graduated in 2017 with an MSc in Geophysics from the University of Leeds where data science was central to exploration techniques. I learned of powerful modelling techniques in the planning stages of geophysical projects and I’ve decided to apply my skills to the transport industry which provides a range of opportunities to make a tangible difference.

SYSTRA employs around 400 people across the UK, providing transport planning consultancy, engineering and specialist technical services to enable all kinds of mobility from local walking and cycling schemes to high speed rail and regional highways solutions. My role resides within transport planning consultancy which takes on projects across a variety of sectors and scales. It’s clear that SYSTRA is committed to developing people and the graduate development programme encourages graduates to gain experience across the whole transport planning spectrum, with a view to becoming a qualified professional.  

In just three months, I’ve worked on several interesting projects including a feasibility study for a new motorway junction as part of the Government’s long-term road investment strategy (RIS). Within this project, I’ve analysed traffic count data and simulated new schemes on a virtual network to test the impact of a new junction on the M1. Other projects have included updating a regional highways model, reviewing transport assessments for large planning applications, assessing coupler compatibility across Britain’s railways and identifying the impact of congested local junctions on the strategic road network (SRN). Data analysis underpins much of the work in transport planning, so I find my analytical and data handling skills particularly useful. The ever-growing availability of transport data makes for an exciting time in the industry and I’d like to be able to integrate this valuable information into the planning process.

A typical week in the office has involved work on two or more projects, team building exercises and inter-office seminars (over Skype, for colleagues to share their work with the rest of the company). Communicating evidence based findings is an essential skill for reporting and managing time effectively is key to successfully working on several projects in parallel. This variety of work means that every week tells a different story and makes for a very rewarding role.