Niel Williams

Programme: BSc (Hons) Geology with Planetary Science

Graduated: 2008

Employment: PhD Researcher at The University of Manchester

The field trips involved a lot of work, but the friendships will last forever.

Life after graduation

“After graduating I felt I needed to gain industry experience to compliment all the skills I’d built up over the course of my degree. I started work as an Assistant Geophysical Engineer for the RSK group. The role involved conducting and reporting on geophysical surveys for a wide variety of clients across the country. Within this role I was able to develop the knowledge and practical skills gained from the geophysical techniques course I’d taken during my degree.

“I then changed vocation to become a Geotechnical Engineer for Gwynedd County Council and the Welsh Assembly. Within this role I gained valuable insight into how being a project manager for major infrastructure projects requires knowledge and insight over many disciplines and how to bring these together to complete a project successfully. The most valuable piece of knowledge I gained while working was that you never stop learning and that a degree is only the beginning of the journey.

“The role of a PhD researcher is to complement and advance current and future research in their respective discipline. As a PhD student you have a responsibility to push the boundaries of current thinking within your field that complements the standards and expectations of the university’s heritage and history.

“The most enjoyable aspect of my current role is that I am at the forefront of the pursuit to understand how the solar system formed. This is no mean feat and requires considerable amount of work and effort, however, the knowledge that I am striving to push the boundaries of knowledge is very rewarding.

Made in Manchester

“The most enjoyable aspect of the course was the numerous fieldtrips. Although the trips involved a lot of work the friendships built up over the excursions to numerous countries will last forever.

“Within my current role I’ve found the analytical and problem-based learning skills were the most important I gained during my degree. The numerous field trips were good preparation for the geological sector as they prepare you for working in all conditions and give you the resolve needed to carry on through any conditions.

“I would tell any prospective student thinking of applying for a geology-based course that it opens up many opportunities for you after graduating and it is the best course to take if you would like to travel the world.

“One of the best and most understated facts about the School of Earth and Environmental Science is that there is always a warm and friendly atmosphere throughout the whole school. Although there are many university-led programs set up to help students with all sorts of problems encountered during studying, the doors of all academics within the school are always open and they are always prepared to help.

“Like many degrees the first year is set up to bring all students up the required university level, so even if you haven’t studied Geology or Chemistry or Maths at A-level, don’t worry. You’ll be at the same level as everyone else by the end of the first year. At times during the second and third years’ work will become very demanding however you’re never alone as there is always somebody ready to help.”

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