Case study

Assistant acoustic consultant — Samuel Shapely

Less than a year after graduating, Sam's work experience and degree studies have helped him start his journey towards becoming a senior acoustic consultant

How did you get your job?

While completing my BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering at Southampton Solent University I undertook a year's work as an acoustic testing technician, performing sound insulation tests on building sites.

What does a typical working day involve?

  • driving to an office or building site and carrying out an acoustic survey (measuring the noise of the local environment)
  • undertaking calculations in the office to design mechanical plants, which helps me achieve criteria set by the council
  • contacting clients to organise future work projects.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the balance of work inside and out of the office, solving practical problems on a daily basis as every project is different and requires a different solution, the variety of work (sound insulation testing, background noise survey, mechanical plant commissioning, external plant assessment, plant room breakout assessments) and the mix of independent and team work.

What are the challenges?

I occasionally have to work antisocial hours, sometimes through the night or with early starts.

Managing my own time to ensure tasks are completed by required deadlines is something else that can present challenges.

Finally, driving long distances. I work all over the country, which can involve having to stay in hotels and periods of time away from home.

In what way is your degree relevant?

My degree was fairly relevant. However, while it taught me some basic information in acoustics, I have done the majority of my learning for this role on the job.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I am now undertaking bigger projects and becoming more independent in my work. I have recently established a good client base which I have built strong relationships within. I have aspirations of designing the acoustics for schools, offices and residential flats.

My ambitions are to continue in the acoustic industry and become an acoustic consultant, followed by a senior acoustic consultant.

What advice can you give to others wanting to get into this job?

  • become a student member of the Institute of Acoustics (IOA) and consider undertaking the IOA Diploma
  • read relevant acoustic standards, such as British Standard: 4142 (2014) and Approved Document E
  • become familiar with acoustics terminology such as LA90, LAeq, ambient noise, background noise and residual noise.

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