Hayley Bowers, Geology student at the University of Leeds

Hayley Bowers

What does the company do?

LEAP Environmental carries out site investigation in order to determine the geotechnical and geoenvironmental properties of the land prior to construction work. Site work includes gas monitoring and collecting samples of ground water and soil which then go for testing. This primary data is then compiled and assessed into a report to advise developers on foundations and remediation. 

What was your role within the company?

My role involved both site work and office work. On site I was required to assist the field engineer in making soil logs and collecting samples of both soil and water. I was regularly sent out onto site alone where I had to collect ground gas monitoring data and ground water samples. When back in the office I was tasked with typing up the field data into an adequate format for the reports, organising future site work and ordering equipment to make sure the store was always stocked. Towards the end of my placement I was given several reports to write up and was asked to train up new undergraduates. 

What did you enjoy the most and did you get involved in any interesting projects? 

I enjoyed the responsibility of being trusted with going to the site alone and having to complete a series of tasks. 

Several interesting projects included:

  • Helping create the contaminated land database for the borough of the City of London which highlighted their top 10 most contaminated sites. 
  • Working in Tunbridge Wells Council offices for a month reviewing their contaminated land database.
  • Working on a large project which involved monitoring contaminated water, gas and soil on an old landfill site. This was to assess the remediation required to allow the building of 200 homes and a primary school. 

 Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

One of the main ideas that drove my decision to undertake a year in industry was the opportunity to strongly boost my employability. The experiences and knowledge you acquire from the process is so valuable and unattainable without having the experience. I was also unsure what I wanted to do in the future and therefore I was able to get a lot of experience in an industry I previously knew little about. Completing my year in industry confirmed I would like to go into this field after university. 

What do you think you have got out of this experience?  

One of the most valuable things I have gained from my year in industry is the vast range of knowledge. This included subject areas such as soil strength, groundwater sampling techniques and contaminants of which I had no prior knowledge.

I was also lucky enough to secure myself a graduate job, which I accepted. This has taken a lot of stress out of third year as I can focus my attention on university work, rather than job applications. 

Do you have any tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?

Apply to as many companies as you can, even if they are not advertising for undergraduates. Also don’t be put off by distance. At first I was a bit reluctant to move so far away from home however I had a great year and wouldn’t change it.