Oliver Mellor – BSc (Hons) Navigation and Maritime Science graduate

Year of graduation: 2016

Current employer: Self-employed

Current job title: Professional Sailor

Current location: South England

“I think my course was ideal for students who are looking at pursuing a career in the merchant navy or working at sea. The amazing facilities which the University provides are one of the best training resources in the world.”

Tell us what you have been doing since completing your studies.

I have been sailing professionally in the Solent, UK, and in the Mediterranean. In December of this year I will be travelling to Barbados to sail with a team I have been racing with for the past couple of years. We will be working on one of the fastest offshore sailing boats in the world, capable of travelling up to 45 miles per hour.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

I don’t truly believe that my career has really kicked off yet. However, this year has been a good one since graduating. I was fortunate enough to go to Malta and compete in a 600 mile race with a local team. With a really good team and a positive attitude we were the first Maltese boat to cross the finish line. A huge achievement for the local crew and also for me, competing in the race for my first time!

What would you do differently since graduating?

I’m actually very happy as to how things have gone since graduating. Luckily for me, I had work lined up very early in the year and was able to jump straight into sailing; actually, the week I graduated I was back on the water doing what I love! Perhaps there were a few opportunities I wish I had taken that could have taken me on different paths, but I am really happy as to where I am now and where I’m going.

Imagine you were about to start university again - with the benefit of hindsight - what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

I think I knew that university was going to be full of fun times and hard work; however, I think at times I may have had too many fun times and didn’t do as much hard work as I should have. I think if I did it again, I would have taken more opportunities and really made the most of everything from my time at university. I think I was fairly absent for my first year and did not join any clubs or societies; however, later on at university I did and was able to give something back to the university.

What was your main reason for choosing to study your course at Plymouth? With hindsight how significant was this for you?

I think I was in the tough position after A-levels where I was unsure as to what I wanted to do for the next few years of my life. I knew that I didn’t want to take a year out as I felt I would lose momentum with my studies. I knew, however, that I had a love for the sea and that if I was going to study anything it would be around something I loved, and in my case that was sailing. I found the course online and believed it would help me towards pursuing a career in sailing. At this point, I was still unaware as to what I really wanted to do.

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?

Luckily for me the University had just improved my course with the completion of the brand new, state of the art, marine building. All of the equipment we used was new and an exact representation of the real world technology we would use after graduating. Simple things such as the library and tutors were also hugely beneficial when it came to studies and completing work.

How did studying at Plymouth change your career aspirations and plans?

I think personally spending time at Plymouth to identify what I really wanted to do was key for where I am today. I started at university not knowing where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do, but was able to leave university knowing what I wanted to do. In fact, I was actually able to jump straight into it. I think at points during my university degree I contemplated altering my career path and pursuing something more suited to my course; however, my love for sailing and the sea won over!

What is your favourite memory of studying for your degree at Plymouth?

I think my favourite time studying at Plymouth was when I was writing my dissertation. Spending time researching, testing, and writing about something I was truly interested in was really satisfying. Starting with nothing but an idea and ending with a full paper proving or disproving theories of that idea was great to write. Also, working with other departments at the university was great.

Why would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University?

I think my course was ideal for students who are looking at pursuing a career in the merchant navy or working at sea. The amazing facilities which the University provides are one of the best training resources in the world. For pursuing a career at sea the facilities were great, learning simple collision regulations and learning how to properly operate and behave at sea.