• 23 November 2016

“I thoroughly enjoyed getting stuck into the ecology work and seeing how the week can pan out for an environmental consultant”

Callum Robbins joined our infrastructure & environment team in Bristol for two weeks work experience.

In June 2016 I was fortunate to have two weeks work experience with Waterman in their Bristol office to witness the wide variety of technical services offered. I wanted to gain experience within the construction industry as it isn’t taught at school, and in particular focus on how the environment influences this field. I was delighted to be working with the Environmental team and saw this as a great chance to gain hands on experience.

The team were really friendly and got me involved straight away by taking me out to nearby Queens Square in Bristol City Centre on my first day. It was here that I performed a mock Phase 1 habitat survey and documented the type of grasses and trees that were growing in the area, learning how these surveys help to form the conclusion of Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (PEA).

During the week I visited a site in Bicester, Oxfordshire with members of the ecology team to help undertake a phase of reptile translocation which required inspecting pitfall traps for the potential presence of Great Crested Newts. This was a three-day long process for such a large site and was a great experience. I thoroughly enjoyed getting stuck into the ecology work and seeing how the week can pan out for an environmental consultant.

Back in the office, and as part of the heritage team, I used my new found skills from the site visits on a project with English Heritage where I experimented with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to help map out a site. I was tasked with plotting the location of geo-archaeological boreholes from an archaeological watching brief over a geotechnical site investigation. The purpose of this was to build up a picture of areas which had been the subject of previous archaeological investigations and to inform and illustrate a Written Scheme of Investigation.

Throughout my work experience I also worked alongside the health & safety team where I was briefed about Asbestos and its dangerous properties. I was tasked with collating a report on its potential risks and what regulations are required to manage it, or safely remove it from site.

A particularly great feature of being an environmental consultant is how their specialist knowledge can help support engineering projects being successfully delivered. Due to this I have been able to learn about Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), helped input to an interpretative report, tested my skills in Computer Aided Design (AutoCAD), as well as being educated on both bats and dormice whilst helping to prepare technical reports.

These two weeks have provided me with an invaluable experience and I’m more determined than ever to get involved in environmental consultancy. I feel grateful for the opportunity and thankful to everyone at Waterman who made my work experience so enjoyable.

Callum Robbins

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