Graduate Journeys at REC

03.07.18

Ross Lawton notes:

“My experience at REC I’d say has been a really fantastic one. They make me feel very valued, and very supported in what I want to do…. I really am pursuing the career I want because of the work I’m doing.”

At REC we recognise the importance of investing in the training and development of our staff. In particular we support graduates to become experts in their respective fields. We recently caught up with REC’s Ross Lawton – who graduated in 2013 and is based in our Croydon office – to find out more about his graduate journey from Geo-Environmental Graduate to Senior Consultant and what a typical day entails.

Hello Ross – tell us about a typical day in Geo-Environmental at REC

A typical day at REC is always pretty difficult to describe as there is so much variety in what we do. Working within the Land team we provide Geotechnical and Contaminated Land Investigations and Assessments for clients all over the country to determine land quality to inform their schemes. As a Senior I am responsible for my own team of engineers and consultants, ensuring that we provide professional and authoritative advice to our clients. No two days are the same with client meetings and project briefings held in tandem with now providing technical support to the more junior members of staff including reviewing technical reports and design documentation.

Are there any projects you’re working on at the moment that are particularly interesting?

We’re currently providing Geo-Environmental Consultancy services on a large 32 acre £1 billion regeneration scheme in South London for a joint venture client. As the development is so vast, and located in an urban environment with difficult ground conditions, the ground investigation phase of the project has been very interesting with investigation boreholes drilled to as deep as 100 meters below ground level in some instances.

 How did you get into environmental consultancy work?

 Having completed my BSc undergraduate degree in Geography, I knew that I wanted a career where I was in touch with the natural and built environment around me. Having been informed that a position was available at REC for a Graduate Consultant I jumped at the opportunity. My work  started with simple groundwater and ground gas monitoring, working under more senior members of the team on their projects, developed into having  more and more responsibility for client liaison and project management on my own contaminated land and geotechnical design projects.

What makes REC a great place for graduates?

REC is a fantastic place for graduates to join as it offers a fun and enjoyable place to work surrounded by a creative, supportive and pragmatic group of people. The variety is great and at REC as a graduate that’s exactly what you get. Although I work within the Land team, we often have our graduates out and about assisting other disciplines such as Air Quality, Acoustics and Ecology with anything from Habitat Surveys under supervision from our ecology team, to Occupational Noise Assessment under supervision from our Acoustics team.

How is a senior role different to a graduate role?

As a Senior at REC I have responsibility not only for my team, and the technical aspects of the reports they produce, but also ensuring that we keep strong healthy working relationships with our clients. As a graduate you’re sent out under supervision from senior members of staff. As you progress and gain confidence and technical knowledge in your field the responsibility to manage the project falls to you and newer members of the team provide the data generation and they in turn gradually progress with training and experience. It’s a virtuous cycle.

 What gets you up in the morning?

In a nutshell, it’s the team that I work with and the projects we work on! At REC I am surrounded by a really supporting and friendly team of people with a wealth of technical knowledge

Have you got any particular advice for  graduates looking to get into environmental work?

My advice would fall into two main camps. Firstly I’d advice all recent or future graduates to take a keen interest in environmental science, geology or geotechnics, whether that be by joining a local focus group or by joining a national society such as the Geological Society of London or the Chartered Institute of Environmental Management. Often these societies promote graduate advice forums which are a good place to find graduates in a similar situation. Secondly, I’d recommend that you pick up the phone and make a call. Online applications are important, but often making a phone call can put you straight to the top of the employers list. Or better yet, turn up at the company with a CV and covering letter!

REC is expanding and has an ongoing need for environmental consultants at all grades. If you’re interested in working with us  please email your details to info@recltd.co.uk or email rlawton@recltd.co.uk about geo-environmental roles if you would like to follow a similar career journey.

You can also give us a call on 0845 676 9303 or Look on our website for advertised roles https://www.recltd.co.uk/about-us/rec-jobs-and-careers/

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