Ben Packham - Geography

What do you do now?Ben Packham - studied Geography at UWE Bristol

I am currently at a renewable energy company called Ecotricity. Working within the planning department, my role as a Senior Design Technician is to produce figures and technical drawings to support planning applications and Environmental Impact Assessments for proposed renewable energy developments.

To carry out my work I use a range of software and use GIS on a daily basis. In addition to this I carry out a range of assessments to determine the suitability of locating a particular renewable energy development at a proposed site, handle and manipulate large amounts of data and train other members of the team to use GIS and the other programs we rely upon to carry out our work.  

How did time at UWE Bristol prepare me for my current role?

One of the reasons for choosing the course was for the opportunity to learn about GIS and what I have learnt in the GIS modules has laid the foundations for the job I hold currently. In one of the modules I was tasked with finding an appropriate location for a landfill site and factored in a number of constraints which resulted in areas that were suitable for such a development. I have used the same method to find areas that are suitable for proposed renewable energy developments, the constraints differed but the process and outcome were similar. This shows an example of taking something I learnt during my time at university and applying it to my working life.

Team working assignments also helped me greatly as 90% of my work is carried out as technical lead in project teams, working alongside professionals in a number of disciplines such as ecologists and landscape architects.  

Advice for current students ?

If you get the opportunity to go on placement, take it. This is a way of gaining an insight into what direction you might want to take your future career. It also looks great on your CV and I think this is something that employers look for and it certainly helped me to get me the job I wanted.

When it comes to looking for jobs, it might be worth submitting an example of your work alongside your job application. I gave an example of an assignment completed in the final year of my course and allowed me to show what I can do.

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