Jack Barker - Project Management with AECOM

Posted: 10th of February 2020 by

Jack Barker

Team: Project Management

Office: Altrincham

Apprenticeship Level: 6

Studying: Project Management, College of Estate Management

Hi, my name is Jack and I’m an Apprentice Project Manager at AECOM. I sit in the Project, Programme and Design Management team and I’m studying at the College of Estate Management for a BSc degree in Project Management. 

What is Project Management?

Good project management is vital to project success. We help our clients meet their project objectives and act as an extension of their organisation throughout the cycle of their projects. 

AECOM is an industry leader in managing buildings, infrastructure and environmental projects providing commercial support and administrative services— from feasibility case preparation, stakeholder management, planning and coordination through to scheduling, cost control, design, construction and commissioning and operation. 

What has been your favourite project?

During my time at AECOM, I have been very lucky to have had exposure to a wide range of projects for both public and private sector clients which is not something that you experience everywhere. However, the project that I would say was one of my favourites was a project where AECOM provided commercial and cost support to our client during the re-design and construction of a series of roundabouts in York. This project was my first real experience of development and construction and in understanding how multi-million-pound projects are delivered by a project team. AECOM supported me throughout the project, but exposed me to give me a good understanding of what we do at AECOM and this helped build my confidence and provide the footing of my career. 

What attracted you to AECOM?

The main attraction of AECOM to me is the legacies that our projects leave behind. Together as a company, we have designed cities, we have constructed major transport routes, designed and built some of the most important buildings and actively worked to ensure the environment of our planet is protected through sustainable development and conservation. 

On a local level, I experienced this understanding of delivering legacies at the first project I assisted with at AECOM - the roundabout project. Now, each time I visit my other projects in York, I drive over that roundabout and having had the involvement in it, it makes me understand how AECOM's projects help to deliver a better world. 

What support have you received on the apprentice programme?

Having spoken to Graduates and Apprentices at competitor companies, I think we lead the way with Early Careers support - and rightly so! A prime example of this is our ADVANCE Programme which is offered to all AECOM Apprentices and Graduates. It begins with a company-wide conference for two days. Here, you are introduced to the company, our values, our businesses as well as meeting the Senior Leadership team. This, I think, really sets the scene for life at AECOM, but also shows first-hand how the business is there to support you as you navigate through the early stages of your career. 

What is the work environment like at AECOM?

AECOM is a forward-thinking and innovative business - its why our clients choose us to solve their most complex problems. A good company starts with good people and AECOM recognises this. There are many companies that offer flexible working, but not in the way we do. AECOM recently formalised its new Freedom to Grow initiative, which takes into consideration that there is more to working flexibly than the hours you arrive and leave. Freedom to Grow encourages you to discuss with your line manager how you bring your best self to work. Yes, hours are included. But it also accepts how some of us are better working alone, or in a team. Some of us prefer to work in alternate places as opposed to the same desk and people each day, or not in the office at all. Freedom to Grow allows us to always deliver our best work, but ensures that we can enjoy what we do in the process. This is just one of the ways in which AECOM influences a positive work-life culture all while meeting the demands of our clients and the rest of our colleagues. 

What is the social scene like at AECOM?

Again, owing to being a forward-thinking business, AECOM acknowledges that there is more to 'work' than the 'work' and understands the modern ways of working. While I can only speak for the London and Leeds office in this regard - though I am confident this is the case everywhere having spoken to people across the company. Certainly in my experience, the Friday socials, which always involve an array of pizzas and beer or wine, are just the beginning.  Group activities and social time are promoted through the way our offices are designed, the mentality of our leadership team and powered by the incredible staff that work here at AECOM.

Have you had the opportunity to give back to your community via AECOM?

Corporate Social Responsibility is something that I learnt about in my first ADVANCE session at AECOM and I was immediately interested in getting involved. AECOM encourages all employees to get involved by allowing you two days a year to contribute your time to a charitable cause. 

Last year, I helped with a YMCA day that AECOM hosted at our London office. Local YMCA groups who had expressed an interested in understanding what we do and an interest in engineering. We spent the day designing and constructing bridges from office materials to illustrate the work we do at AECOM. The day was very well received by all involved and opportunities were opened for some to return to learn more.

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