- Course: BSc Environmental Science (International)
- Year of graduation: 2015
- Company: McMaster University in Ontario
- Location of year abroad: Canada
Ben arrived in Leeds to study BSc Environmental Science. Leeds appealed to him because of the amazing campus offer here and how close everything is to the city centre! The course was also appealing because of the subject variety and opportunities to specialise. But, of course, there is always more to life in Leeds than simply studying. As well as playing plenty of rugby, during his first two years based in Leeds Ben took part in the Leeds Half Marathon and spent loads of time exploring the Yorkshire Dales. He also spent two weeks in South Africa as part of Operation Wallacea, a research-based charity investigating the overpopulation of elephants in the National Park. The experience of showering and cooking outdoors with only wires between him and wild animals left a big impression and ignited his passion for travel!
After doing well academically in the first and second year Ben transferred onto the MEnv programme. This meant that Ben's third year was spent at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. The opportunity to study and live in another country was something he jumped at. Experiencing a different culture and learning more about his subject in a different setting taught him a lot about himself and the environment! He also made lifelong friends all over the world! In between his studies, he bungee jumped in Costa Rica; kayaked in British Columbia; went dog sledging in Northern Ontario; surfed off the coast of California; and even had a close encounter with a bear! Despite the excitement of his year abroad, he was still excited to return to Leeds.
Returning to Leeds for his final year, it was time to knuckle down and complete his dissertation as well as begin planning for life after University. In amongst his studies he still found time to enjoy himself: taking on the Yorkshire Three Peaks over 24 hours was a particular highlight. Ben attended the Careers Fair in School of Earth and Environment (SEE) in October and there met his future employer, Advisian. Advisian are the consulting arm of a multi-national engineering company, WorleyParsons. They have an excellent relationship with the University, with over a third of the Leeds office having graduated from SEE. Ben now works as a Graduate Environmental Consultant in Headingley where he assesses potential risk in the ground with a view to making environmental improvements. At Advisian he is able to learn from like-minded, successful people and use the skills he gained at university to tackle real-world problems. He has worked on projects across the UK and has recently been given the opportunity to travel to India. During April 2017 he will be volunteering for a social enterprise, bring life-changing sustainable products to people who need them most.
Ben's advice to students thinking about a career in Environmental Consultancy, or indeed any graduate role is to:
- Do as much as you can whilst at University: experience = skills;
- Go to the Careers Centre for CV advice;
- Speak directly to a potential employer and research them;
- Be flexible and open to all opportunities;
- Be confident: employers rate graduates from the University of Leeds very highly; and,
- Above all else, be yourself!