Work placement leads to summer job for Conservation student

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A Conservation student from New College Lanarkshire has secured a paid summer job with leading environmental management company VHE after impressing during a work placement organised as part of her studies.

Louisa Palmer, who recently completed NQ Animal Biology and Conservation at Coatbridge Campus, was selected to do a two-week placement with VHE at the site of the new Ravenscraig public park in Motherwell.

She is now working with the company at another of its sites at Shawfield in Glasgow doing water sampling, moisture sampling, noise and vibration monitoring for eight weeks, after which she will take up a place studying HNC Countryside and Environmental Management at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in West Lothian in September.

Louisa, who lives in Easterhouse, said: “In doing the work placement I have gained a lot of knowledge about bioremediation and what it involves.

“I got to see first-hand what companies are doing in order to protect our environment.

“I was also given a fantastic opportunity of a paid summer job within another VHE site carrying out some environmental work and I feel this will help me gain both more knowledge and more experience.

“Being 40 and a mature student, I think it’s never too late to start again and do what you have always wanted.”

During the placement, Louisa shadowed senior engineer Paul Clarkson and learned how to carry out surveys of the ground, checks of dust and noise levels, and entered delivery-ticket information on to the computer system every day.

The work placement came about after staff in the Faculty of Care & Science invited VHE’s contracts manager Gavin Broomfield to give a guest lecture to students on the bioremediation work being carried out at Ravenscraig.

VHE is an industry pioneer in bioremediation and the treatment of soil contamination. It has been contracted by North Lanarkshire Council to conduct the preparatory ground works required to transform part of the former steelworks site in Motherwell into a seven hectare urban park.

The £3.7 million project includes a play area, outdoor gym, sensory garden, visitor hub, events area, sports pitch and network of walking and cycling routes.

Lecturer Michael Balzo, who helped to organise the placement, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Louisa and it illustrates how the College is committed to encouraging women to explore more career options, particularly in science.

“We are working to continue our partnership with North Lanarkshire Council and we hope to place more students next year with other contractors, and also to involve our students in maintaining the site once it is completed.”

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You can sign up for updates on the new park at Ravenscraig, and see a full site plan, by visiting www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/ravenscraigpark

And learn more about the work of VHE by visiting the company’s website, www.vhe.co.uk

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