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My Stantec Story: Balancing education and apprenticeship with Vanessa Taylor

April 05, 2023

Vanessa, apprentice civil technician, shares how an involvement in STEM activities at school led her to embark on a career in engineering

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.

Tell us about your role…

I have been working in the Oxford office in the community and development team since October 2020. Our team deals with the design of highways and drainage systems. As an apprentice technician, I support the development of engineering drawings by using AutoCAD for the design of 2D elements and 3D components are produced using Civil 3D. I have already supported a wide variety of projects, ranging from small residential jobs to large-scale projects such as Oxford North.

What attracted you to a career at Stantec?

In school, I was always involved in STEM activities, which made me aware of the abundance of fields that existed under the umbrella of engineering. I completed bioengineering work experience at the MRC Harwell, as well as at Depuy Synthes, who was my sponsor following my attainment of an Arkwright Scholarship. I was also introduced to mechanical engineering during my time at the BMW Mini Plant. After these experiences, I was still very open-minded—I knew I wanted to continue in education but didn’t fancy going to university yet. This drew me to Stantec’s apprenticeship scheme.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I enjoy having a day release each week to go to college, as well as the flexibility Stantec offers for students to complete assignments and Institute of Civil Engineering (ICE) qualifications. The apprenticeship allows me to directly apply what I learn in my modules to the real-life world, and I know I can ask questions or for support from my lecturers, as well as from all the engineers around me at work.

How has your personal and professional development been supported at Stantec?

Since starting my apprenticeship, my time management has considerably improved. Finding the work, academia, and social balance was challenging to begin with, but now I’m able to juggle more things and stay calm under tough deadlines. Also, through the Developing Professionals Group (DPG), I have learned about the importance of networking and creating contacts with the people around you, as their experiences can enrich your understanding.

The apprenticeship allows me to directly apply what I learn in my modules to the real-life world, and I know I can ask questions or for support from my lecturers, as well as from all the engineers around me at work.

What has been the standout project for you during your time at Stantec?

My standout project so far would be the A423 Kennington Improvement Scheme, Oxford. This involves replacing Kennington bridge and enhancing the surrounding road layout and cycleways. During the production of the preliminary design pack, I have seen myself work more independently, putting my CAD skills and knowledge into proper practice. This is also the first project where I have been introduced to some basic 3D procedures, as well as working closely with the other disciplines in the company to achieve building information modelling (BIM) compliance.

What are your ambitions for the future at Stantec?

Looking ahead, I will be finishing my level 3 apprenticeship in a few months, after this, I will be focusing on achieving my Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) EngTech qualification. Which will allow me to continue on to the Level 6 degree apprenticeship. This will be the start of my long-term aim of becoming a fully qualified engineer.

What are your passions outside of work?

Outside of work, I am very sociable and love making time for trips and festivals with my friends. I am committed to my local football team where I have played in goal for the past five or so years, and I pair this with regular gym training to improve my fitness and strength.

Why should others join the Stantec team?

Stantec’s apprenticeship scheme is very generous—the company is very thoughtful towards students trying to balance work and education. The company offers a network of support, from mentors, to ICE contacts, to a variety of workshops to all help you achieve the most with your time. Stantec also encourages community involvement through STEM activities and charitable sports and social events, so there’s always something to look forward to outside of the working day.

At Stantec, we put people first, and for Vanessa that means supporting her development as she embarks on balancing both work and study on her apprenticeship. If you want to start your career at Stantec, visit Graduates & Apprentices to find out more. 

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