Role: Senior Planner
Career Area: Project and Commercial Management
Location: York and Birmingham
My role at SYSTRA
As a Senior Planner my primary responsibility is to use a software package called Primavera P6 to manage a variety of multi-disciplinary projects, from creation through to execution. I do this by creating P6 programmes with work breakdown structures (WBS), work activities/tasks, resources and budgets.
I update the programme schedules and maintain baselines from weekly to periodically using data gathered at progress meetings from work package managers and technical engineering leads. I report progress on the project, which is managed by updating the project schedule.
My work is very analytical!
My career journey
During a previous employment in 2009, I switched from a Project Manager role to a P6 Planner role. I very quickly realised that I had a natural ability for that particular discipline!
We asked Rachel…
When did you realise this was the career path for you?
Planning is very methodical and logical, and that suits the way my brain works – at the time I was encouraged to try the planning role by a colleague who recognised the ability in me. They then went on to become a mentor throughout my early planning career.
Have you got any words of wisdom for someone starting out in a similar role?
If you enjoy sequences; lists; journalling; seeing how things fit together and impact on each other; processes; and asking questions, then this might just be the job for you!
How does SYSTRA stand out from the rest as a Great Place to Work?
I have been pleasantly surprised by the range of opportunities that are available to all colleagues within the business to get more involved in other areas. I am a Wellness Champion, mental health first aider and an ED&I engagement colleague, which are all intertwined with my role.
With such power in diversity, what unique perspective do you bring to the table?
I have a knack of being able to simplify things. Often work instructions can be overly complicated and my brain doesn’t work like that, so I find a way to simplify.
Where is the place that has inspired you the most?
I am currently working on the HS2 project and everything about that project is inspiring. Engineering in general inspires me every day. The things that engineers can design and build is incredible, and I hope I can play a small but important part in that process by helping to plan.
What does true sustainability really mean to you?
It means looking after our planet and trying to help to balance the environment, economy, and social aspects of society for future generations.
What would a green future look like?
We have to think about greener energy, less waste, reduction in single use plastics and creating wild areas for biodiversity to thrive.
How do you look after your wellbeing outside of work?
One of my favourite things to do is take a walk out in nature, find a lovely bench and sit and take it all in (with my lovely husband, Col, in tow of course).
If you could spend your lunchbreak with someone you really admire, who would you choose?
That’s a tough one to be honest because I admire so many people. Most people have stories to tell and I love to listen. So I guess anyone who wanted to join me for lunch would be welcome!
If you had to pick, which mode of transport would you use for the rest of your life?
Car – electric of course! I live with anxiety and public transport is often crowded and noisy, but my car is calm and quiet.