Working in a diverse industry: Water

Environmental Technology MSc student Rhys Goddard speaks about his experience during the Anglian Water Placement in 2014/2015.

Monday 12th May 2014 marked my first day both as a member of the Innovation Department at Anglian Water, and in a role relevant to the field of my degree. For me, the Anglian Water placement followed on from what was a relentless journey through academia, through which I had gained a wealth of theoretical knowledge. However, as a recent graduate I still lacked any industry experience. The opportunity to study as a post-grad student at one of the most prestigious universities in the world while also gaining industry experience from one of the largest water company in the UK was therefore too great for me to miss.

Rutland Regatta charity event

One of my favourite features of the placement was the diversity of the projects I worked on, which included microbiological contamination of shellfish, optimisation of wastewater ultraviolet disinfection plants, passive sampling for water quality monitoring, and various technological trials. These projects demonstrated the need for an inter-disciplinary approach to problems, an approach which had been promoted in the lectures and projects I had worked on in the two terms spent at Imperial College.

Although the placement was based in an office in Peterborough, it was far from what most people would describe as a desk-job. I regularly travelled to Anglian Water sites throughout Cambridgeshire and the neighbouring counties to collect samples, attend meetings, and even race boats. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to attend conferences and network with others within my field of work, and was also able to gain valuable experience by presenting at the Chemicals Investigation Programme project steering group in London.

I was lucky enough to work with and learn from a number of highly experienced Anglian Water employees in an environment where I had space to work independently, but was also confident that help was available if needed. I would like to thank Anglian Water, particularly members of the Innovation Department, for their help throughout my placement, and for making my time in Peterborough so worthwhile.

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