Zoe Udall, BSc Sustainability and Environmental Management student at the University of Leeds.

Zoe Udall

What is the name of the company you work for and what is your role?

For my Year in Industry placement, I am working as an Environment and Sustainable Development (E&SD) intern at Network Rail. Network Rail is a public sector organisation that owns the railway infrastructure for England, Wales and Scotland.

The key aspects of my role are to support the E&SD team in the delivery of their projects under the four main areas: Energy and Carbon, Weather Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation, Social Performance and Environment.

Can you give an insight into a typical day?

The typical day varies depending on the project that I am working on, with multiple projects being delivered simultaneously.

My main project has been collating a set of guidance documents across all four areas for those working in Design, Maintenance and Construction to enforce compliance with the Environment and Social Requirements Standard. Smaller projects include weather reporting on a periodic and quarterly basis to display the severity of weather-related delays and their financial cost to the company. In addition, I have developed a Community Engagement Form for those working in the Routes to complete after undertaking volunteer and community work to be able to monitor and quantify social performance. 

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

What I enjoy the most is having the opportunity to go out into the Routes to see how the railway operates on the frontline and have a greater understanding of their environmental issues. I also think it is incredibly valuable to be able to build relationships with not just those in the E&SD team, but with key stakeholders such as National Grid, The Tree Council and RSSB that I have been fortunate enough to do so. 

Why did you decide to do a Year in Industry?

I wanted to undertake a Year in Industry because it provides the knowledge and understanding that is not attainable from studying and lectures. While University is important from an academic perspective, an Industrial Placement gives you the communication and time management skills that are essential for being successful in the workplace. 

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

So far from this experience, my self-discipline has been significantly increased, as I am now able to work on multiple ongoing projects, which I struggled to do at University. Within this self-discipline, I have become far more organised in not only managing myself but also others with arrangements of meetings and deadlines to conform to. 

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

My tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a Year in Industry is to apply to anywhere that interests them, as it is well worth the year out of education to get practical experience before graduation to ensure they get a head-start in their future career.