Paul soon realised, after becoming an Assistant Hydrogeologist, that there are many career opportunities offered in the water industry. In order to progress his career further, Paul joined the South East Area Committee of the Institute of Water, giving him the chance to practise his skills in a different arena. This initiative enabled Paul to learn new skills and apply them at a higher level than he would normally expect to experience.
What was your first job?
If you go back to the very start (i.e. before going to University) then my very first job was working as a fishmonger in the family shop. Following university I got my first salary paid job as an Assistant Hydrogeologist / Analyst with South East Water (formerly Mid Kent Water).
How did you come to join your company?
I was fresh out of university and I was basically going through what everyone does at that stage; apply to as many jobs as possible that you have a feeling you will be good at and have the skills to do a good job should you be given the opportunity. The Assistant Hygdrogeologist / Analyst job came up in a regional newspaper. It required the skills I had and it was in a subject area I was keenly interested in; so I applied and managed to get past the interview successfully.
How long have you been with them?
What has been your best achievement since joining?
There have been several key achievements since joining. However, I would say that the one that sticks out for me was completing the Postgraduate Diploma (with distinctions) in Water and Environmental Management at the University of Bristol. It was a CIWEM accredited course and I was awarded the CIWEM Best Certificate Student Award 2007 for my first year’s work, which was an exceptional achievement.
What preconception about your company did you find was most wrong?
I did not really come with many preconceptions as I did not know what to expect when I first got the job with South East Water. However, what struck me about joining is how diverse the roles within a water company can be; I suppose I had no real idea that so many people are doing so many different jobs in order to provide us with safe and clean drinking water on a daily basis.
What is your message for the industry?
Be positive about what we have already achieved, be positive about everything we are trying to achieve at the moment, and be positive about what we want to achieve in the future regardless of what we have to prepare for. There is too much negativity around at times.