Updated: Sep 1, 2020
Tell us a fun fact about yourself
I have a green Blue Peter badge (I got it when I was 8!)
Tell us about your career journey so far
I graduated with an MSc in Environmental Science in 2007, and then spent 10 years working as an Environmental Engineer for Fairhurst both in Aberdeen and Edinburgh. I was involved in some large high-profile projects for them, including the ground-breaking redevelopment of a landfill in Cove, just outside of Aberdeen and working as a site engineer on ground investigations for the A9 Dualling Project. I worked my way up from Graduate to Senior Engineer, before leaving to join WYG in 2018. I then moved to Sweco a year ago to join their Brownfield Solutions team, also based in Edinburgh but working on projects across Scotland (and as far afield as Gibraltar). My primary focus has always been on the redevelopment of contaminated land, but I’ve also had experience of the planning and waste sectors.
What was your favourite subject in school and why?
Oh, that’s a hard question. I loved and was passionate about Geography, which it also happened that I was very good at.
What subjects/qualifications are useful in your role?
My background is in Environmental Science, which is an incredibly broad degree including chemistry, biology, geography, geology, soil science, zoology, ecology, statistics and maths. My role can be incredibly broad, so a working knowledge of any of these subjects can be useful on any given day. Most commonly, people working in my role have a first degree in Geology or Geosciences, Geography, Hydrogeology, Environmental Science/Engineering/Chemistry and often a subsequent specialisation at Masters level. Increasingly, a knowledge of (or qualification in) civil engineering can be very useful.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
The variety and tangible, practical impact.
What is a normal day in your role like?
I’m not sure there is any such thing as a ‘normal’ day in my role. If I am in the office, a normal day could include such things as producing proposals, carrying out desktop studies, organising ground investigations, scheduling or interpreting chemical testing data, or writing and reviewing reports. I provide support to many of our more senior members of staff, and help manage those junior to me. Site work can be more exciting, including sampling, monitoring and supervising trial pits and drilling rigs. Most recently, I did work in Gibraltar supervising fuel pipeline removal.
Suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?
You can find out more about the historical land uses under your current home and area using the maps available at the National Library of Scotland (which is a key part of assessing the potential for contamination), and you can also find out more about the geology underlying your local area using the BGS Interactive Mapping. I’ve included links to both of these below: