Studying Ecology, Karen benefitted from working at an environmental consultancy in Orkney.
What is your background?
I am currently a student of Ecology at the University of Sheffield. I am from Bedford (just north of London) but have a lot of family in Scotland so have spent much time here over the years.
Where was your summer placement and what project did you work on?
My summer placement was at Aquatera Ltd., an environmental consultancy, based in Orkney, that specialises in niche market marine renewables. I worked on a variety of projects in various stages of completion from Environmental statements and scoping reports to international databases and marine spatial plans.
What did you like most about your placement?
I loved the variety of work that I was able to get involve with. The team was great to work with and I was included at all stages of projects, from teleconferencing and meetings with clients and stakeholders, to final report writing.
What did you learn and what skills have you gained during your placement?
I have become much more confident in my own abilities, trusting my own judgement when working on my own and knowing when to communicate with other members of the team. As well as the communication skills I have gained, I now have a greater technical knowledge of renewables as an industry, have improved my research and report writing skills and have a much clearer idea of the scope work that goes on across the board in an Environmental consultancy.
What advice would you give to other students?
Don’t be scared to write to companies and enquire about the possibility of working with them, even if they do not advertise placements. It is well worth the experience, not only to look great on your CV but to help shape what you would like to do in the future and potentially will even get you a job!