Name: Tom Ryan
Degree and university: graduated with BA in geography and with an MSc degree in Environmental Assessment and Management from Brighton University.
Work Title: Graduate Environmental Consultant at Mouchel, the consulting and business services group.
What do you actually do? I work with Southern Water on the design and construction of pipeline schemes, as well as with Essex County Council on their highways scheme. My job is to ensure that everything is done in accordance with environmental law; therefore I often cooperate with government bodies, such as Natural England and the Environment Agency.
Why did you decide to go into the Built Environment sector? I wasn’t really sure what to do with my geography degree, but I’ve always been interested in environmental issues as well as ecology, and since it’s such a fast developing area I decided to continue my studies in this direction.
How did you find out about your particular course? I was an ex-student at Brighton University so I was aware of the course when I finished my Geography degree. I knew I wanted to extend my education and so doing it in Brighton seemed natural, particularly as this was a course I was very interested in.
Would you undertake further training to gain promotion? I’m keen to learn both on-site as well as undertake further training. I’ve already attended additional courses in field surveying and I might develop my skills further in this area.
What do you like most about what you do and are there any downsides? I’ve had a lot of responsibility on my hands since day one, which has motivated me a lot. I’ve received great support from my manager and the team. I enjoy what I do a lot – I’ve been involved in volunteering with the National Trust. I do some environmental maintenance and improvement works every other Sunday, so I can develop my skills outside work as well.
Coordinating everyone can be challenging, as well as explaining environmental issues to people who aren’t aware of their importance. But these challenges make my job even more attractive and interesting.
What skills do you need to succeed? Attention to detail is definitely crucial. One has to be very responsible as well since responsibility comes in early on in this profession.
What advice would you give other graduates? Getting into this industry is the hardest part, but it’s all about networking and seeking out opportunities; you just have to get your foot in the door. I was quite lucky as my current boss teaches at the Brighton University and that’s how I first heard about opportunities at Mouchel.