Vicky Turnbull - Geology - What our students say - University of Derby

Vicky Turnbull, BSc (Hons) Geology

Where did you go for your work placement and what were the reasons behind your choice?

I worked for a year at Hydrock Consultants Ltd. at the Northampton Office. This was a great opportunity for me as it was close to home. I was lucky to have gained my placement due to having connections within the company. I was originally looking for money during the summer between my second and third year of study, and ended up being employed in the field. 

What did you get involved with while you were there?

Various office based and site work activities. Office work included Desk Study Reporting for site work investigations, as well as data analysis for which I learnt some good Excel skills and chemical analysis. The site work entailed excavation works in Geotechnical design, which involved taking soil samples in the form of trial pits and drill core logging to determine the appropriate design properties for development in relation to the soil type on site. There was also a lot of liaising with clients. 

How has your work placement helped with your studies?

It gave me a great understanding of soil and rock mechanics prior to undertaking the final year Engineering Geology module. It also gave me a solid career path, as before I started work at Hydrock, I had no clue what I wanted to go in to. Now I am undertaking an MSc in Applied Geotechnics and Rock Mechanics and the University of Exeter, and hope to go onto an international career in Rock Mechanics. 

What was your favourite part of your work placement experience?

Probably the independence I was given in the work place. The environment wasn’t like your typical job where you have somebody breathing down your neck. You’re given a lot more autonomy in that kind of work. I also enjoyed the routine of working 40 hour weeks, as it prepared me for full-time work out of my degree. 

What would you say to anyone interested in doing a work placement as part of their course?

Do it. Even if it’s not in the field you’re looking for, you will learn a lot of transferrable skills in the work place that can be brought onto your studies and in future work. It’s also a good way to earn money whilst learning important skills.