Luke Pedley industrial placement with the company Geotechnical Engineering Ltd .

Luke Pedley

What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?

Geotechnical Engineering Ltd is the UK’s largest privately owned, independent ground investigation contractor, providing geotechnical and geoenvironmental data nationwide. The company provides an extensive range of ground investigations from the physical and engineering properties of the ground (soil & rock), to any potential contamination issues.


What is your role within the company?

As a trainee engineering geologist, my role is to help, assist and learn from the qualified engineers. My responsibility varies from doing general labouring duties enabling the site investigation to run smoothly to learning and developing as a geologist such as logging soils and rocks, taking report quality photographs and environmental sampling for laboratory testing.


Can you please give me an insight into a typical day?

Because of the nature of the job, my typical day can vary hugely in responsibility and location within the UK. My typical site day will involve being on the yard for 5am to load up the vans before travelling to sites nationwide. My first couple of weeks I was in Stratford-upon-Avon, Ross-on-Wye, and Swindon, and then I did a weekend railway shift in Kent. On site, I am generally tasked with helping and learning off the senior engineers such as supervising drillers and rigs, collecting environmental samples for laboratory testing and learning how to log soils and rocks.


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

I enjoy being on site in a dynamic, ever-changing environment learning and developing as an engineering geologist and being on the job getting my hands dirty. There are numerous interesting projects I could be posted to in the up-coming year such as the new HS2 line, investigating derelict land for contamination to enable future development and working on the railways and motorways such as the M6 developing the UK’s infrastructure.

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

I wanted to undertake a year in industry to get a true grasp of what a job in Geology is like post-graduation. University is an excellent experience, however unfortunately it doesn’t last forever. Therefore, the main reason for doing a year in industry was to try and set myself apart from all the other graduates coming out of University as having a year’s experience should make me more appealing to employees.


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

Thus far, I have been put through numerous industry-tailored qualifications, enabling me to work on high-risk sites such as the railway. I have already gained a huge amount of site experience and can feel myself developing into a better, more-knowledgeable geologist on a daily basis.


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

Don’t let the opportunity pass you by. A year in industry is an excellent opportunity to get out of academia for a year and get a true taste of what working life is like, as well as making money to have an unforgettable final year! Degrees can only provide so much, it’s the experiences that you have outside of academia that will really set you apart on the job market; a year in industry I believe raises you to the top of the employability pile.