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Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m from Carluke in South Lanarkshire. I graduated from the University of Glasgow with BSc (Hons) Geography in 2013. The following year I went on to complete an MSc in Environmental Engineering from the University of Strathclyde. I’m now working as a graduate Environmental Consultant at EnviroCentre Ltd in Glasgow. My job involves travel all over Scotland, with roughly 50% of my time spent in the office and roughly 50% on site. The sites I visit have been as diverse as Edinburgh city centre to the upper slopes of Ben Lawers!

What have you learned during your placement?

I’ve been fortunate to get experience across many of EnviroCentre’s key business areas. Most of my work is in the site investigation of contaminated land. I’ve been carrying out Phase I and Phase II investigations, both conducting the site work and writing the reports. I use soil chemistry results to draw conclusions about how contaminants move beneath the surface and how they might pose a risk to human health or the water environment. I’ve also been heavily involved in a peatland restoration project, at sites across Scotland, which is an extremely important task.

Within a few months of starting, I was given a number of small projects to manage. This allowed me to learn key project management skills by having responsibility for budgets, invoicing, and co-ordinating all aspects of project delivery.

Every staff member at EnviroCentre has their own mentor who is there to guide personal development. I’ve been encouraged to get involved with as many different types of projects as possible and everyone has been really helpful since I started. Environmental Consultancy is a very wide ranging area so it’s great to have many varied opportunities before deciding what areas specifically I will specialise in further down the line.

What did you think of the ScotGrad Residential Course?

It was great to get a bit of time out to reflect upon the things that you wouldn’t normally get a chance to on the day-to-day job. It highlighted the importance of treating my CV as a live document and continually keeping it up to date, as well as the relevance of sales techniques even though it might not appear to be relevant at first. The business content of the course is tailored to those like myself who didn’t know a great deal of the business lingo. It was good to meet up with and hear experiences from those on other ScotGrad placements too!

Any advice for other graduates?

Securing a graduate job doesn’t seem to be easy for anyone, so don’t get disheartened and keep at it. Take advantage of the university careers service, I found it helpful to have a second opinion on my CV and on my interview answers. Don’t underestimate the importance of skills you pick up during part-time work, as irrelevant as they may seem to your chosen career path – be prepared to tell employers why those skills are relevant. It’s a bit cliché, but take the time to make sure what you’re typing into application forms actually makes sense – I noticed a few howling typos on some things I’d already sent away! Needless to say, it felt like I ended up wasting time by not spending time having a proper proof read in the first place.

What do you hope to do after your placement finishes?

My original 12 month placement has been made permanent, so I intend to stay with EnviroCentre and gain much more valuable experience in areas such as Environmental Impact Assessment and project management – eventually working towards chartership a few years down the line.