Rob Giles, BA (Hons) Geography

As part of the Lancaster University and EDF Energy Industrial Placement Scheme, Rob Giles a third year BA (Hons) student undertook a funded-twelve month placement at local Nuclear Power Plant, Heysham 2.

How and why did you decide to apply for the industrial placement with EDF Energy at Heysham 2?

"As part of my undergraduate degree with Lancaster University Environment Centre, we participated in a guided tour of Heysham 2 Nuclear Power Station. This was my first exposure to nuclear power and I was immediately fascinated in how operating large scale energy infrastructure can be done whilst managing environmental considerations. I went home and researched EDF and the UK nuclear industry and decided it was something I wanted to be involved in.

Fast forward a few months, the Lancaster University Careers service advertised the scheme through email and I applied straight away! The careers service were hugely helpful throughout the application process and I received an offer the same day I received my degree results."

What did you do there?

"The role of an industrial placement is hugely varied, which was one of my favourite things about the job. Anything from compiling technical reports in the office to being out on the power station supervising tasks with an environmental risk factor. Broadly speaking, I worked on sustainability and environmental management, oil and chemical management, communications, environmental monitoring and radiological protection. Working alongside the Environmental Safety Engineers was hugely beneficial to my development as they are immensely experienced and more than happy to help you learn."

What was the best thing you think you did for the business?

"Together with a colleague, I came up with an innovative approach to mapping spills of oil and chemicals on site, which was then suggested for replication at the rest of the EDF fleet. It was an innovative approach to solving a tricky problem and was great fun to work on."

What was the best thing about the industrial placement for you?

"Definitely the scope of work to get involved in – meaning no two days were the same. On such a large site there is work going on that requires the supervision of the Environmental Safety Engineers so the role can be really varied, in the office or out on plant. Given my environmental background, my favourite thing to do was get out on plant and investigate the various jobs going on with an environmental consideration, it really made the placement dynamic and enjoyable."

Did you get a job because of it? What does the future hold for you?

"I was offered a full time job at EDF but decided it was not the right place for me so I have returned to education to study an MSc and I hope to study a PhD next year."

Would you recommend the Lancaster University and EDF Industrial Placement Scheme and if so, why?

"Absolutely – it is a fantastic opportunity that helps you build some industrial experience and knowledge, something that will set you apart from the rest of graduates. Real world experience can really boost your CV, especially a year long placement, as it allows you to get an in depth knowledge of the industry and pick up some great transferrable skills. The scheme provides a perfect opportunity for a Lancaster student, as you can stay living in Lancaster whilst working at the station."