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Job title: Environmental Consultant (UK)

What are your qualifications?

A levels: Physics, Geography, Maths, Further Maths
MSci in Earth Sciences from the University of Oxford
Postgraduate Certificate in Radioactive Waste Management and Decommissioning from the University of Birmingham.

What exactly does an Environmental Consultant do?

As an Environmental Consultant I work for a range of clients, providing environmental assurance support to major development projects, environmental consultancy services and undertaking detailed technical assessments. This work includes the provision of baseline environmental information, thorough analysis of on-site sampling data, maps and archive records, review and assessment of various environmental issues, updates of key environmental documentation and provision of advice on regulatory compliance.

Apart from formal qualifications, what other skills or characteristics do you need?

Other skills and characteristics that would benefit an Environmental Consultant include a desire to learn about a wide range of environmental and regulatory issues and being able to apply scientific analysis, report writing and technical assessment skills to the specific task at hand. These can be developed further through on-the-job training and experience. A lot of our work is carried out on clients’ sites, with a focus on delivering packages of work to cost and time constraints. Therefore, good presentation skills, project management and client focus are also required.

What sort of organisation do you work for? Who else employs Environmental Consultants?

I work for one of the UK’s largest multi-disciplinary consultancy firms. I work in both the Geo-environmental and Nuclear Divisions, providing environmental support and consultancy services to a range of projects in a number of industrial and commercial sectors. A number of other industries employ environmental consultants, including those in the insurance sector, property acquisition sector, environmental law firms, energy businesses and the petrochemical industry.

If this wasn't your first job after your studies, what did you do in between?

I travelled around the world for five months (second half of 2004) between the end of my first degree and beginning work as an Environmental Consultant at the start of 2005. I then worked for the Nuclear and Power Division of a large multi-disciplinary consultancy firm for two years prior to starting my current role in early 2007.

Do you travel within the UK or overseas much?

I travel a moderate amount as part of my consultancy work. Our clients are located all over the UK, from Dorset and Berkshire to Cumbria and Scotland.

Do you work a regular length day/week or are shifts involved?

I work a regular length week (37.5 hrs), though travel time to clients is not often included in this. Most days, I work from 8.30am until 5.30pm.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The aspects of my job that I most enjoy are the variety of work, the range of clients, opportunities to combine technical work, project management and business development and working for a multi-disciplinary consultancy firm with people from a wide range different technical backgrounds.

What advice or extra information do you wish you'd had before starting this career?

I would have liked more information regarding the type of work involved as I did not study the nuclear industry in-depth at university. This aspect of the nuclear industry is improving all the time, with an increasing number of industry focussed career and training events, university open days and specialised postgraduate courses.

What position would you like to hold in 5 years time?

In five years time, I would like to hold a Senior Environmental Consultant position within an international multi-disciplinary consultancy firm.

Background map credit: The Geological Society Library