Claire Nichols, MSc Environmental Pollution
Claire graduated in 2015 with an MSc Environmental Pollution and is now working as an Assistant Engineer in the Ground Risk and Remediation team at WSP UK Ltd in Basingstoke.
Claire's interest in her career path was first sparked during a two week placement shadowing a contaminated land consultant, following the completion of her BSc Geography degree. Having decided to pursue this career path, she was advised to complete a master's degree to develop her understanding of the contaminated land and remediation industry.
“The MSc Environmental Pollution course at Reading really appealed to me due to the range of classroom, laboratory and fieldwork based modules and also the excellent reputation for employment potential after graduation.”
Preparing for your career
During her studies, Claire participated in a week-long fieldtrip to Devon where students visited an active landfill, completed air quality monitoring around Exeter and undertook water sampling of various watercourses in Dartmoor.
“I most enjoyed visiting a former arsenic and copper mine to take soil samples and assess whether there was a potential risk to recreational users, the underlying aquifer and nearby river. This is very relevant to the work I now do in my current job role.”
Claire particularly enjoyed the Environmental Consultancy module which reflected the type of work a contaminated land consultant might undertake on a day-to-day basis. The module involved completing a desk study, small site investigation and risk assessment of an area of heathland formally used as a landfill and for military activities.
putting practicals into practice
Claire now works as an Assistant Engineer in the Ground Risk and Remediation team at WSP UK Ltd, and uses the skills and knowledge gained from her master's in her work.
“My role involves a balance of office work and fieldwork, working on a range of projects from housing developments on agricultural fields to redevelopment of former industrial sites. Office work generally entails analysing historical and geological information and maps, interpreting laboratory data and writing reports. Fieldwork includes supervising drilling of boreholes and excavation of trial pits, soil sampling, groundwater sampling and ground gas monitoring.”