How Axis helped me shape my career - now I help others

Tom's Journey

In this interview, Tom Roseblade explains how Axis supported him while he studied, from work experience in his first year at university, to a paid internship in third year, and hiring him more recently in 2021. And gives tips to graduates and young professionals wanting to follow in his footsteps…

Hi Tom, so why did you choose a degree in Landscape Architecture and Planning?
Growing up, I absolutely loved engineering, and was pretty good at maths and design. And having grown up in Wales, my natural affinity for the landscapes and native wildlife means I care about the environment too. So a degree in Landscape Architecture and Planning made sense. I studied at The University of Sheffield and graduated in 2013.

How did you first hear about Axis?
I first met Phil, a Founder and Director at Axis, on a family watersports holiday as I was starting my Landscape and Planning degree – we kept in touch and thankfully he offered me some work experience back in summer 2011 to give me my first taste of real-life planning work. It’s fair to say it was nothing like playing Sim City but it was still a great first step and I enjoyed my time with Axis from the off.

The leadership team at Axis is really good for offering early career support like that, and now I’m here I make sure I pass it on by helping other young people get experience where I can.

How was your work experience at Axis?
It was very varied – a great balance of desk work and site visits, and a few memorable trips out to the Cotswolds. I got to know the people at Axis – it was a really warm welcome and I remember thinking it would be a cool place to work.

I must have done a decent job because Phil invited me back to do three months paid internship over the following summer, before my final year. I got stuck into a variety of projects, mostly infrastructure, and really enjoyed the people I was working with – it was good fun! It was a huge thing to be invited back to be honest, and the opportunity and earning some money was good for me at the time.

How did people in Axis support you during your internship? Everyone at Axis chipped in, guiding me through those three months of summer internship and teaching me the real-world consultancy skills that they just can’t teach at university. I remember at the time not wanting to go back to academic studies after having spent time in such a rewarding commercial environment!

Image of Tom roseblade with a bike

How is Axis different from other consultancies you’ve worked in?
After graduating in 2013 I took a job with URS (now AECOM) in their London / Basingstoke region as I wanted to make a break from the area I’d grown up in and experience working in and around London. It was an interesting place to work and I enjoyed my time there, but as I grew up and got married I felt the yearn to return to my roots in the North West.

I had always wanted to come back to Axis as the smaller close-knit team environment was always much more ‘me’ than bigger corporate environments.

What’s the toughest challenge of your role?

Difficult one – but as with all consultancy work it’s probably the way some unexpected jobs land on your desk and have to be dealt with immediately, making it harder to plan your workflow. But that’s also what I like about it too, the variety and fast-paced nature of the role.

So, is it all hard work and no play?
Absolutely not. Axis has a fantastic social side. When I joined I loved the fact I had the chance to go for drinks and team lunches every few weeks. There was a competitive cricket game between the two offices which was a great day out – though my performance is best forgotten!

What’s the best thing about working at Axis?
The people. The breadth of knowledge and experience they have, and their ability to problem-solve. Learning from that is a really interesting and engaging environment. I love the freedom we’re given to just get on with our jobs – no bureaucracy! We are trusted to just get on with what we’re best at, which in turn allows us to really manage our work-life balance well.

And finally, what three tips would you give other graduates or professionals looking to follow in your footsteps? 

  • Jump at any opportunity
  • Never be afraid to ask a question
  • A job in planning is not like playing Sim City
Every kid growing up in the early noughties probably played The Sims and Sim City – and those games inspire you to want to become a creator. Some of us just take it too far and end up making a career in Planning!
Tom Roseblade
Graduate to Senior Consultant with Axis

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