Offshore Wind Adviser
Marine Management Organisation
I would say... don't shut the door on anything, try anything that comes your way - it's all experience for something, there are so many cross-cutting skills you might not think you had... I would be really keen in the future on doing a PhD part-time and working part-time to see how my research can benefit my working career and just take it a step further.
My career path has been University undergraduate at Portsmouth doing paleontology. I then took time out to do retail for a while and work out what I wanted to do with my life! I went back to do a master's in paleobiology, and I stayed in the University work to do a lot of ad hoc tasks. I did a lot of data analysis, I worked on climate reports, I taught people how to use specific programs on computers which was an interesting time... then I found the MMO, and went to be a South West marine planner, where I covered the river Severn to the top of Cornwall, and found that really interesting.
But then the Strategic Renewables Unit came into being, and I moved into being an offshore wind adviser.
So my day-to-day is attending meetings with people, different kinds of stakeholders in government and developers and contractors. I look at underwater noise specifically, and floating offshore wind, as well as working with our marine planning team to try and ensure that internal relations are maintained and we can all work together really well.
So I work in underwater noise which- when the wind turbines are put into place they create noise from piling effects when we clear unexploded ordinance in order to put the turbines in. And a lot of the wind farms in England are in the East region, where there is a very large protected area for Harbor Porpoise. Harbor Porpoise are really sensitive to noise, so we do have to monitor what noise is being input and how we can avoid breaching any thresholds that would affect them adversely. So one thing within that - I've created is an underwater noise tracker internally, so we can definitely monitor everything perfectly and stay on top of it... especially coming into the future, with government ambitions for offshore wind, the development is only going to ramp up in the area so we need to understand the cumulative effects (and prevent anything bad from happening to the Porpoise!)
My academic interests are in paleontology, and a big part of that is that the present and past are connected. Understanding that fact - so things that have happened in the past, such as oceans going anoxic, or which is when oxygen decreases, or when global temperatures have increased... it's really important to understand where that's happening now with climate change, and understanding that there can be analogies drawn between the two. Things like species recovery we can understand, we can understand how specific organisms ~ which may have still been around in the paleontological record and the fossil record ~ could survive effects that are going on now so I find that part really interesting and beneficial.
So one thing I'm really excited about is that the MMO are really 'pro combining your research interests with your working career and personal development', and working towards improving your personal development. So I would be really keen in the future on doing a PhD part-time and working part-time to see how my research can benefit my working career and just take it a step further.
I would say... don't shut the door on anything, try anything that comes your way - it's all experience for something, there are so many cross-cutting skills you might not think you had. My past is with paleontology, but a lot of the skills I learned from that really do apply in offshore wind work. It's really important to just try opportunities, and be willing to contact people, speak to people who if you think you'd be interested in a career find somebody who works there and ask them for a little careers chat most people are very happy to have a chat with somebody who's at University and interest in coming into the field
[Some bonus advice] - practice the bad news sandwich! When you're going to somebody with a problem, go to them with a solution as well. It shows that you're really keen to find that solution, and look into different areas of work and really shows your intitative.