Peter Thompson – BSc (Hons) Hydrographic Surveying graduate

Year of graduation: 2003

Current Employer: Precise Consultants

Current Job Title: Director

Current Location: London

“After graduation, I went straight into the offshore oil and gas industry. I spent ten years developing my career in various parts of the world, gaining incredible experiences both within work and outside it.”

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

After graduation, I went straight into the offshore oil and gas industry. I spent ten years developing my career in various parts of the world, gaining incredible experiences both within work and outside it. I moved from a junior data processor to a Party Chief, and from Plymouth to Morzine to Bristol to London. Eventually, I decided to develop my career in a direction I would never have predicted back in June 2003 – I launched my own recruitment agency to supply freelance surveyors to the offshore industry. Having gained a significant amount of experience, I identified a gap in the market and in 2012 I felt the time was right to launch Precise Consultants.

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

My career has had two distinct paths and both have offered their own unique moments of excitement and fun. Working incredibly long, intense shifts and living in fairly challenging conditions on a boat offshore of Nigeria – then one of the most dangerous places for a surveyor to be – brought financial rewards. I travelled anywhere I wanted to go – heli-skiing in Alaska, back-packing in Kashmir, and almost drowning in Morocco.

Establishing roots in London has been just as exhilarating. Building my own company during the back end of a recession, creating employment for young, talented people, and building professional relationships with clients right across the world was scarier than jumping out of the helicopter but it's given me higher highs than anything else I've ever done.

What would you do differently since graduating?

Not a thing. I would never regret travelling, meeting people, understanding other cultures. Having the freedom to do literally whatever I wanted is probably the reason why I could make the leap of faith necessary to start my company.

I'm glad I spent so long working offshore, even though at times it was incredibly tough and even lonely. I understand the conditions facing my freelancers, and equally I understand how important it is to my clients that they get a freelancer who can do the job they say they can.

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?

In my first year I changed from Ocean Science to Hydrographic Surveying. My lecturers saw that I had an interest in it and supported me to move across. Without them it would not have happened – in fact, none of this would have happened.

That sort of pastoral encouragement makes a huge difference. It was something I suppose I had only fleetingly experienced when I was at school where, for the majority of my education, there was little support. I didn't do as well as I might have done at school, but I had a completely different relationship with my university tutors and this is something I'll always be grateful for.

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

Before I started, my only plan was to get a degree – I hadn't thought much about what I was going to do next. Plymouth introduced me to the hydrographic industry, a sector I have based my life around for the last 15 years.

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

I met a group of friends who I still count as some of the most important people in my life today. Pretty much all my memories of I have recently also taken on the role of QTLS Reviewer with the Education and Training Foundation (Society for Education and Training), supporting the conferral of QTLS to qualified teachers working across the Further Education sector are great memories. It is a fantastic place to spend three years.

How well did Plymouth prepare you for the challenges that you have faced, or will face, in your career?

I was never the kid who got named a prefect. One of my sisters was Head Girl. I didn't get A’s or a first-class degree – that was my other sister. But I am the first of us to get asked by our universities to do this, so I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to the next family dinner.

It's a massive deal for me – I'm really pleased that I might be able to help others through this programme.

Inspired by this story?

For more information about our range of marine science courses within the School of Biological and Marine Sciences, please visit the school page.

Want to find similar alumni?

If you would like to find out what other relevant alumni are currently doing, please visit the marine, earth, geography and environment interest area.