Colin Nye, Applied Environmental Science with Biology

Year studied Applied Environmental Science with Biology:  

2010-2014 Graduated with a 2(i) in 2014

Current employment and type of business:

The University of Cambridge

Job title:

Energy Coordinator 

What are the different steps you took after graduating from Keele in terms of travel, further study and jobs?

After graduating from Keele, I took the car, some Euros and my lovely girlfriend, who I met at Keele, and travelled much of Western Europe. It was a brilliant month which I will never forget, taking in Milan, Venice, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam and many other beautiful cities.

I managed to secure a job at Norbord Europe Ltd. as their Energy Management Engineer and worked on a number of exciting, high value and environmentally beneficial projects for two and a half years. Working in industry was as challenging as it was rewarding, every project and decision was ruled by the bottom line (cost benefit), which meant some of my ideas and projects were pushed through, whilst some with a slower payback were batted away. I gained a huge amount of invaluable experience in mechanical and process engineering, as well as softer skills such as project management and presenting to varying levels: departmental employees, site management and board level meetings, pitching things with a very different spin to each. With a list of delivered projects including: drilling a borehole (displacing 120m3/day of mains water), developing and installing a smart RPM system for two machines and assisting with a 5MW biomass boiler, I certainly kept myself busy. One of my achievements in the role was to install and setup a full energy metering system, complete with automated alarm emails to supervisors and periodic reports to management on their departments KPIs, energy £/m3 of product produced.

How did you get your current position and what does your current position involve?

After a while, I was contacted by a recruitment company looking for candidates for a role at The University of Cambridge. Rather out of the blue and taking me by surprise, I discussed the role over the phone and agreed to an interview the next day. Suffice to say the interview went well and I was offered the post as the University’s Energy Coordinator.

The role is very different to Norbord where I was one man against the industry, the University has a dedicated Environment & Energy section with professionals across an array of specialties working to deliver environmental improvements and energy and carbon reductions. Initially focused on utility and budget management, my role has evolved over time to take advantage of my projects background. I now focus on delivering process improvement projects and resolving complex utility queries raised by the team. Spending the majority of my time in an office is very different to before, but I’m adjusting slowly, it’s always nice to arrange site meetings and get out around the city on a bike!

Now more than two years on, I have helped to: promote energy efficiency across the estate, develop and deliver training modules on various systems and energy related topics as well as manage the University’s Ca.£20m energy budget. My role has evolved so much already and I’m happy to be somewhere with the potential to make a large impact and influence others to follow suite.

What did you learn on the Environmental course which helped you get the job, or helps with your role now?

The Environmental Science degree is so completely and utterly interdisciplinary, it requires you to constantly think about how each system effects the next and how any alterations made in one will impact the other. This is a metaphor for the working world and helps create a mind-set that allows you to jump from idea to idea without completely losing the plot. The course at Keele goes beyond the simple interactions, it challenges you to understand the environment as a whole. Keele offers the chance to integrate modules from: chemistry, geology, biology and even law modules in your degree. Everything in science has a cause and effect, the more you know about and around a topic, the more effective you will be in your career.

What would you like a prospective student to know about studying our environmental courses at Keele?

Keele is simply a wonderful University, it’s a supremely friendly place full of community. Looking from the outside, it has been improving at a rapid pace, with considerable investment in the campus and infrastructure during my time there and in the years since leaving. Studying at Keele will offer you the chance to meet great people, challenge and discover yourself; quite simply, Keele is an amazing place to live and study, the campus is beautiful and the quality of teaching is superb. If you’re looking for a University that brings together everything you could wish for in a Uni, you’ve found it. Welcome to the Keele bubble.