Year of graduation: 2016
Current employer: Biffa Waste Services
Current job title: Gas Technician
Current location: High Wycombe
“There was great support from lectures who were always happy to help out. It is also a great city with natural sites that can only be found there, like Plymouth Sound and Dartmoor: perfect for an environmental science student.”
Tell us what you have been doing since completing your studies.
The first thing I did when I graduated was go on holiday. I think it is important to get away for a bit, as it was a long three years. It was also a good way to end an amazing time at university. When I got back, I signed up to every job search website I could find and applied for anything and everything I thought I could do. Very few got back to me but the ones that did invited me for an interview. I was lucky enough to get a job with Biffa as a Gas Technician which ties in with a lot of the skills I gained at university.
What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?
In my current job, it is very engineering based. Knowing how the engines and the gas plant operates, having hands on experience with those sorts of things, is exciting to learn about. It has probably been the hardest part of my role because it is something I had never done before but excited to learn more about in time.
What would you do differently since graduating?
Spend more time relaxing. I always wanted to get a job as soon as I could. I didn’t want to be a graduate that waited two or three years before getting a graduate job so I just jumped straight into getting a career. Although I am very thankful to have gotten a job so quickly, I would have liked to have taken more time out and enjoyed my time off.
Imagine you were about to start university again – with the benefit of hindsight – what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?
To be honest, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I feel like I spread my time around in the best way. Joining the cricket society was a great way to get away from my studies and meet people who were into the same interests as me. I went out an enjoyed myself when I could and just let off some steam. I did work hard in my studies, don’t get me wrong, but I knew when to stop. If I wasn’t being productive, I would just stop and go do something else and not waste time staring at a screen not getting anywhere.
What was your main reason for choosing to study your course at Plymouth? With hindsight how significant was this for you?
The big selling point for me, and probably for many people who did this course, was the field trip to Malaysia. Every university that I looked at during Open Days didn’t have a residential field trip like Plymouth. It was also quite close to home (Cornwall) so if I ever wanted to go home (which I didn’t do too often) for any reason, it wasn’t a big trek.
How did we support you in your studies? If you used any support services whilst at the university how did they enable you to get to where you are today?
PALS was a great help. It was good to get advice from another student’s point of view as they had already done the work and knew what worked well and what didn’t. Being students themselves, they understood what position we were in to get the work done.
How did studying at Plymouth change your career aspirations and plans?
When I first started my degree, I wasn’t sure what path I wanted to take in my career. I knew I wanted to work on the big environmental issues that we face, but I wasn’t sure what I could do to combat such large problems. It became clear to me early on in my studies at Plymouth that if we were to find a sustainable energy source it would allow us to solve other environmental problems. Every solution that has been suggested for each problem seems to require a lot of energy, so I knew that’s the path I wanted to go down.
What is your favourite memory of studying for your degree at Plymouth?
My best memory from studying at Plymouth was after exams, when we used to go and get a drink and discuss what went well and with what we struggled. It was just good to relax with friends down the Hoe after all the stress of studying and revision. There were loads of other great memories as well, especially the Malaysia trip, but you can’t beat doing a course with people with whom you get along so well: it really makes work and revision so much easier.
How well did Plymouth prepare you for the challenges that you have faced, or will face, in your career?
Plymouth made me look at things from every possible angle before coming to a conclusion. This has helped me in all areas. It has made me stop and actually think about why people may think differently about certain things, or why something is the way it is and how to overcome a problem without making rash decisions.
Why would you recommend undertaking a course with the University?
I think the wide variety of subjects available on the course is great. It touches on all areas of environmental science and it gives you the chance to explore what you think are the most important areas of research. There was great support from lectures who were always happy to help out. It is also a great city with natural sites that can only be found there, like Plymouth Sound and Dartmoor: perfect for an environmental science student.