Patrick McKelvey

Programme: Geology with Geochemistry BSc

Graduated: 1988

Employment:  Operations Manager at Schlumberger Water Services Brisbane, Australia.

"The good grounding in geology I got at Manchester has been of huge value."

My work

“After graduating I worked for a couple of years as an Assistant Geologist with various oil companies. I decided to work in the water industry so took an MSc in Hydrogeology. Since then I’ve worked for a number of engineering and mining companies in the UK and overseas as well as a stint in International Development. I’ve been very lucky to have had a varied career with travel to interesting places.

“I manage office and technical work in Eastern Australia. There is a bit of a mining boom going on in Australia at the moment so there is a lot of work in Mine Water Management. In addition a major Coal Seam Gas industry is developing in Queensland. That involves a lot of water abstraction, so there is significant concern about impacts.

“I like the mix between technical work, business development and team management. I still get to do a bit of travelling which is what attracted me to this profession in the first place.

Memories of my course

“The field trips stick out in my mind as my favourite aspects of the course at Manchester, as well as my 3rd year project which involved cooking up things to very hot temperatures in the basement!

“Although a lot of what I do has been gained through work experience, the good grounding in geology I got at Manchester has been of huge value.

“I would advise students to keep in contact with as many people as possible. It’s easier now with social media and I’m just starting to get back in contact with some old classmates.

“Another tip: if you’re working in industry be as flexible as possible – last week I was advising on surface water management on a Pacific Island just one skill I’ve had to pick up as I went along.”

"Being able to juggle a variety of tasks and prioritise is really important. Also the ability to understand the science behind the issues or the businesses processes is a bonus that people don’t always expect.

“I really enjoyed university and it taught me a lot about how to organise my time and being able to plan my work and also the type of work I enjoyed doing.  I think I would describe it as high-energy to combine everything I wanted to do for my course, also enjoy other activities and living in central Manchester. Sometimes I didn’t always pull it off!

“My advice would be to gain some work experience and think about what type of career you might enjoy.  Do you want to travel the world or do you have a preferred placed to live?  What sort of work environment would you prefer, such as offshore or office?”

▲ Up to the top