This blog was written by Mandy van Zaanen MSc, Graduate Structural Engineer

As I entered the office on my first day it felt like coming back home but I soon realised this was the beginning of a new stage in my life. Entering the world of work, I thought I’d be met with hard work 24/7 but I have discovered that this isn’t necessarily true. Of course, you expect to always work hard and aim to exceed expectations but there are opportunities to have fun and build strong relationships with colleagues outside of the office.

Although I work amongst teams of people that share the same passions for engineering as me, there is more that unites us. Here in the Birmingham office, there are regular football and climbing evenings, socials and weekend trips which are open to everyone. This means that you build relationships with colleagues from all levels and disciplines and you would be surprised by the effect this has on your personal and professional life. My work-life balance is important to me, after all they go hand in hand, being happy at work makes me happier in my personal life and vice-versa.

My first 100 days at WSP has been great and I was lucky enough to start off having ‘my own’ project, a retail park that needed to be developed. This meant I’ve been able to familiarise myself with architects drawings, client briefs and site investigations at an early stage in my career.  We have now completed the conceptual design for this project and the aim for me is to be involved throughout the rest of the design process, so that I can experience a project from conception to completion. It’s an amazing feeling to know that one day I will visit this project when it has been completed, knowing that I have contributed to its success.

Proud is a word I really like here at WSP and it’s something I feel; being part of a company that works on major UK and global projects is great. On top of my day to day responsibilities, as a graduate I get to enjoy all sorts of introduction events to understand the company.

In addition to the WSP graduate induction, the scheme includes continuous training and development opportunities that are discipline specific. Through these events, I get to meet other graduates doing the same type of work as me and can further improve my technical skills and knowledge. I may have stopped my formal education at university but the graduate scheme at WSP means I am able to continue learning.