My name is Jack Speer and since June 2023 I have been working at Causeway Geotech, undertaking my Industrial Placement year for my BsC Honors Degree in Environmental Science which I’m studying at Ulster University, Coleraine. As a current Placement Site/Environmental Engineer with Causeway Geotech, it has been a fantastic experience applying the knowledge and information I’ve learned about in the lectures and practical work at university. Having a background in studying environmental science, collecting the data in the field on sites has been a great area for me to apply my knowledge and effectively see why data is being collected. For example, in our first year at Ulster University we studied the Earth’s lithosphere and the structures within the earth’s crust, types of rock, how these affect the ground and how water flow affects the ground on the surface and below. This basic knowledge makes the job at Causeway a lot easier as understanding rock types and soil types when supervising drill rigs, doing trial pits or logging become so much easier to make decisions; you enhance your knowledge further by seeing and working with it daily.
Another area we spent time studying in university was water analysis, gas analysis and water sample collection. With my environmental background I took on most of the environmental monitoring for projects, be that water level monitoring, gas monitoring, water sampling, low-flo water monitoring or diver installs and downloads. The knowledge I gained at university again helped massively with this and made doing the jobs and organising the kit needed a lot easier. At university we conducted a lot of water analysis tests and knowing how the water needs to be collected, handled, and stored before it reaches a lab made my job so much easier as I already knew what the lab needed for the tests to be accurate and representative. When low-flo water sampling I was able to notice any anomalies in the data that appeared when the water was passing through the sensors and note down for the lab and our final reports. And finally, with doing gas monitoring for jobs any fluctuations that didn’t fit the normal ground gas expectations I would be able to record and note down to remember that specific areas may need further monitoring or more specialized monitoring. These are just a few of the ways that studying my degree has helped me settle into my role with Causeway a lot quicker and feel more comfortable and confident in completing my roles while still furthering my knowledge in the environmental and geo-engineering field.
Causeway have been more than supportive in finding roles that best suit my expertise as well as my natural abilities, i.e. I tend to prefer hands-on working and enjoy outdoor work and the variety it brings. They provide the training required and also trust you to learn by completing tasks yourself under supervision and guidance. The project managers are always more than helpful if they get a phone call asking for advice and help.
As regards plans for the future, I have my final year of university next year when I will be completing my disseration. Possibly during this time, I may be able to leep a part-time role within Causeway, if it’s benefical to the company and myself. I graduate in May 2025 and as a keen traveller I have many places on my list that I would like to visit, like my family in New Zealand. I’d love to give developing a career within Causeway and the environmental engineering sector a go, if the opportunity was there.Find out more about Graduate Placement opportunities