Chris studied for a BSc in Environmental Management and Planning at Glasgow Caledonian University and an MSc in Civil Engineering at the University of Strathclyde. He now works as a consultant for BRE
How did you get your job?
I applied through the BRE Graduate Scheme and attended an assessment centre in Watford.
What's a typical day like?
I have been involved in a variety of challenging and diverse projects. Some days involve working as an engineer on classified projects, while others involve liaising with international clients on sustainability. I could represent the company in government one day, and analyse data or complete research or technical authoring manuals the next.
There are a vast array of great opportunities at BRE. Sometimes the job can be challenging, but it's rewarding to work with like minded individuals and to know that you are contributing to a larger cause.
What do you enjoy about your job?
You don't necessarily need to be an expert on day one. The style of management at BRE allows you to personally and technically progress quickly, developing through feedback from your manager.
One thing I particularly value is that both the company and each one of the group board members promote sustainability, ethical labouring and gender equality - the UN's three 'powerful synergies' for sustainable development.
What are the challenges?
The main challenge was moving from Scotland to England for the position, which a lot of graduates now have to do. It was scary at first but you need to think of the long game and know it will be worth the investment down the line.
Another challenge of working in the built environment, is keeping up with ever changing legislation. To help keep my knowledge up to date I am a member of a professional institution. Professional institutions, like IEMA, provide publications and lunch-time webinars, which are particularly helpful in covering changing issues.
There are many other benefits to professional membership, such as events (like visiting the Tesla HQ), networking, and job opportunities.
Are your degrees relevant?
My degrees have given me the foundation to progress into industry and focus on sustainability within the engineering sector. It has allowed me to contribute to some of the more niche areas of the business with a broad approach, which is often useful and what employers look for.
How has your role developed?
My job has developed into a consultant role and I am now looking into how data can be used to advance the sustainability agenda within civil engineering, which is a significant focus for the industry right now.
At the same time I am pursuing Chartership through IEMA's mentoring programme, which will enable me to develop and the company to gain more traction.
What advice would you give to others?
Right now the industry is ever evolving, particularly within the legislative and built environment sector. Aside from gaining the foundation from your degree you need to consider three things when approaching a job application or interview:
- research the company you're applying to and have a look at their goals and values on their website. Try to align these with some situations you have been in and talk about them in the interview
- health, safety and well being are key areas - remember to include these in your interview answers
- be yourself, don't panic and stay positive.
There are lots of opportunities working at BRE in consultancy, research, physical testing, certification and more.
Find out more
- Gain an insight into the role of an environmental consultant.