My Stantec Story: Building a graduate career in digital solutions with Emily Downs
April 07, 2022
April 07, 2022
Emily, graduate data analyst, shares how her career is being shaped by collaborating with several different market sectors
In the My Stantec Story series, our designers, engineers, marketers, project managers, and leaders come together to share how their career journeys at Stantec have shaped their lives and moved them closer to their goals.
I joined Stantec’s Leeds office in October 2020 as a graduate data analyst within the Digital Services team, working with the Stantec.io digital solutions. We provide digital efficiencies to a wide range of projects using spatial data analytics, coding, data visualisation, software development, and bespoke tools. I’m currently involved in several projects working with teams in environmental consultancy, renewable energy, asset management, and flood resilience.
Whilst at University, I knew I wanted to couple my experience in environmental science with my interests in design, technology, and engineering. Stantec’s Digital Services team seemed to be the perfect balance between gaining experience with hard skills such as geographic information systems (GIS) and coding, whilst also giving practical experience in a huge range of engineering sectors. Being part of such a large and diverse organisation allows you to gain skills in a variety of fields and get involved in some key projects that will influence environmental and social health and quality across the UK.
Local Developing Professionals Groups (DPGs) let you build relationships and network within your local office and learn about the various projects and teams that your fellow graduates are involved in. The global DPG group allows you to hear from people you would not usually have the chance to interact with such as technical directors or managers from different countries.
Stantec also supports your journey to chartership by sponsoring your membership fees and pairing you with a mentor. I’m working towards a chartership in the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and have monthly meetings with my mentor to revise my competencies and recommend different opportunities for career professional development (CPD).
I’ve been involved with the Living with Water Blue-Green Master Plan project in Hull since I started with Stantec, providing GIS assistance on plans, designs, and workshops. This has been a great introduction into engineering and flood remediation as the project uses modelling, nature-based solutions, and local knowledge to help propose strategies to mitigate flooding in the city.
With regards to tool development, I’ve been developing a wetland opportunity mapping workflow in ArcGIS which aims to identify optimal geographic areas for constructed wetlands. It’s been used on several projects across England and has allowed me to work on solving issues such as water quality, flooding, and nutrient attenuation. I recently spoke about this on a catchment system opportunities webinar.
My favourite thing about working with our digital services is that the role requires I take both a practical and a creative approach to problem solving to create the best results for our clients.
I want to keep progressing within the digital services team and continue to design tools that will encourage engineers to use nature-based solutions where possible when designing their projects. I’m also hoping to become chartered within the next couple of years as I continue to advance my career in the water and environmental sectors.
I really love photography and hiking, so when the weather is nice, you’ll find me out and about in Yorkshire exploring the national parks. When I can’t get out of the city, I’m usually running with my local running club in Leeds.
Stantec is the perfect place for graduates to use the skills they acquired in school and at university and apply them to meaningful projects that will impact people and places across the world. Additionally, the company allows you to grow and explore undiscovered interests which may lead you into a new field or team that you never thought possible.
At Stantec, we put people first, and for Emily that means investment in her development to improve our digital services and suite of solutions. If you want to start your career at Stantec, visit our Graduates & Apprentices page to find out more.