Christoph Speer always thought he’d be an architect, which is why he only took an Environmental Science unit to fill a gap in his timetable.

But he ended up loving that subject, so he switched to a Science degree and majored in Geography and Environmental Studies.

Now he works as a Project Coordinator for civil construction company Andrew Walter Constructions, working on land management projects and conducting environmental assessments.

“I enjoy the science, but I enjoy the practical side of it as well. I get a kick out of understanding how the world works,” he said.

Christoph combined his Geography and Environmental studies with a minor in geology and plant science, putting him a good position to work in civil construction, which can concern ground water, rocks, and how the water behaves.

I recommend the degree. They’re very good units, and the skills they give you are based around communication and project management.

And the knowledge he gained at University has held him in good stead during his career.

“Recently I was doing a soil and water management plan, and I remembered back to second year when we were doing soil profiles. I dug out my notes and did my soil and water management plan. It got accepted and we’re off and running the project.”

Christoph said the guidance of Senior Lecturer in Geography and Environmental Studies Dr Emma Pharo was invaluable. As a student he completed a research project with Dr Pharo on waste management which increased his interest in the environment even more. While getting up at four in the morning to accompany the garbage collection and then raking through the rubbish might not seem like fun, Christoph was surprised to find that the project was fascinating.

“It was super interesting. We found a variety of ways to recycle better, and realised that carefully placed bins would make a big difference in the amount of waste that was recycled.”

And it was a recommendation from Dr Pharo that helped Christoph secure his first job out of University.

His advice for students is to connect with lecturers and other students, in order to create opportunities and round out your skills.

Join societies and volunteer. Think about where jobs are, and where you’d most like to focus your efforts.

“The biggest thing I would suggest for graduates to learn is project management and general business skills. You have to have those technical skills you can offer the business, and that’s important, but your communication skills are also really important because you’re always dealing with people.”

While Christoph hasn’t ruled out coming back for further study, at the moment he’s loving his career.

I’m very happy where I am, and I get to travel which is great.

Interested in studying Science too? Find out more here.