Practice Director – Engineering Management (Signalling and Communications System [relist copy]

The ATKINS UK Transportation division brings together the capabilities of our key markets, Strategic Highways, Strategic Rail, Local Transport, into a single £450m turnover business of 3,000+ talented engineers and professionals. The transport infrastructure sector is experiencing unprecedented levels of investment and Atkins is playing lead roles in key projects across the UK and Europe from high-speed rail to major road programmes to Digital Railway implementation.  It is not just about today, the business is investing and building new capability and services in intelligent mobility, digital asset management and new products for the rail market.  Our teams work closely with Government, national and local authorities to deliver integrated transport strategies and solutions that support economic growth and improved journeys for all.

The unique breadth of services in transportation, combined with our scale, makes us the leading UK transport engineering consultancy, enabling us to inspire our people and collaborate with our clients to shape the future of transportation.

Reporting to the Signalling & Communications Systems Practice Director, the Engineering Management (S&CS) Practice Director will be responsible for the leadership of a team of circa 40 Railway Signalling, Telecommunications and Systems Engineering Managers plus the highly specialised (and much respected) Technical Investigation Centre.  This will be achieved by driving technical and delivery excellence, with a strong focus on quality, developing key supply chain strategies plus ensuring that the best possible products and services are provided to our clients.

The S&CS Practice, with circa 400 staff and a £100m per annum turnover, is a major supplier to Network Rail on many of its major signalling schemes, plus we also have developing relationships with TFL, London Underground and several contractors.  Its core activities consist of design, construction, testing, engineering and project management of signalling projects – combined with ITS consultancy and design, a railway safety training school and several roles around airport communications and security systems.  Reflecting our technical expertise and scale, we are often involved in the largest and most complex projects, which have a significant impact on and ability to enhance the UK’s rail network.

Key objectives:

- This is a key leadership role within the S&CS Practice.
- Drive the vision and strategy of the Engineering element of the practice, providing value and excellent customer experience for all our clients across the UK Rail market.  
- Ensuring the project lifecycle from early development through to detailed design, construction and testing/commissioning is clearly understood and aligned with the wider transportation business deliverables; working in harmony and orchestrating the interfaces with engineering disciplines from other practices (e.g. civils and E&P design) and our project teams. 
- Being the lead for ensuring the technical co-ordination and integration of packages of supply chain work with the other disciplines across our Signalling project portfolio.
- Build a top performing team, through staff development at all levels (experienced and early careers) ensuring that there is a greater emphasis on rotation throughout the practice and wider transportation business.
- Inspire and act as a role model to all staff, fostering a collaborative environment, where the entire S&CS team, learn, develop and drive increased business results.
- Ensure that our smaller projects are performing well, especially as the portfolio of projects likely to be available in CP6 are of a minor works nature.
- Drive workforce planning within the practice - identify current and future resourcing requirements and skills needed to match expected workload and future bid profiles.
- Work with our strategic supply chain partners to ensure we can deliver the peaks of workload whilst optimising productivity during downturns in workload.


- Widely visible across the rail business, championing the right cultural values to enhance technical assurance.  Instilling the correct behaviours within the organisation to enable consistent delivery which is technically robust, on time and profitable.
- Ensure the Engineering Management framework for the S&CS Practice is aligned with the wider Transportation Engineering Management requirements (as defined in the Transportation Delivers Work process).
- Drive collaboration across all parts of the Strategic Rail Market and associated practices – especially those associated with the wider Engineering Management community.
- Drive the adoption of consistent tools and methodologies across the practice and wider business.
- Develop a plan and budget for the engineering management element of practice and deliver against them.
- Work with the Market Directors’ teams to establish both long and short-term resource demand based on the pipeline of opportunities.
- Recruitment; continuous professional development and succession planning to ensure that the profile of the practice is aligned with Atkins’ current and future offering to the market.
- Lead and promote innovative approaches to signalling project delivery (specifically in relation to Design) to improve efficiency and profitability, whilst maintaining or improving management of technical risk.
- Acting as Bid / Project Technical Reviewer for nominated projects.
- Supporting regular reviews (including by audit where appropriate) of Engineering Management Practices’ compliance with the technical assurance framework for both business technical processes and individual projects. 


- Chartered Engineer or equivalent.
- Experience and successful track record of leading large teams, both at an operational level and (preferably) through project management.
- Knowledge/experience of undertaking contractor design management.
- Experience of the rail industry is essential.
- Experience of implementing transformational change based on lean or similar principals in a project or construction environment would be highly desirable.


- This is a true leadership position requiring the successful candidate to mobilise and motivate an engineering management team who have interdependence with colleagues who manage the delivery of signalling projects both within the S&CS Practice and across the wider Strategic Rail Market.
- Someone who can command respect, within the rail sector and who is able to shape thinking based on personal credibility and the building of relationships.
- Able to develop effective and enduring relationships.
- A strategic thinker, able to understand and anticipate changing markets, embracing modern ideas and practices and then turns the thinking into action.

For further information and to apply for this vacancy please click here.


  • Location: Birmingham, York, Croydon, London, Glasgow
  • Job Title: Practice Director – Engineering Management (Signalling and Communications System [relist copy]
  • Salary: Competitive Salary
  • Closed: 18 Dec 2019

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