Former student Eleanor returns to talk students about her career working for DEFRA
Eleanor studied A Levels in Geography, Environmental Science and Biology at Henley, and went on to study Environmental Science at the University of East Anglia. After finishing her degree Eleanor started joined the Civil Service and spent 6 years working for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
She has just returned from two years as Climate and Environment Advisor for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in Beijing.
Last week we were delighted to have Eleanor return to College to do a presentation on “Careers in Climate and Environment” for current Environmental Science A Level students.
Speaking about her time at the College Eleanor said: “I loved studying at The Henley College. I found it very different to school as you have more independence here. University life isn’t that much different from College, so being at Henley was great preparation.”
During her talk Eleanor spoke about the initiatives she has worked on and managed during her career so far, including a project in Brazil which helped farmers manage their agriculture so that deforestation could be avoided, as well meeting her hero, Sir David Attenborough.
Eleanor also gave students some of her of her top tips for leaving College and university, which included:
- Get as much work experience as possible – it doesn’t have to be relevant to your chosen field, but will show that you can show up on time, you’re responsible and can manage your time. Make sure you talk about any jobs or work experience in your applications and interviews.
- Sandwich degrees are really worthwhile – although Eleanor didn’t study a sandwich course at university, she can see now the benefit of being able to work for a year in industry before graduating, and how this experience will benefit you in the long run and could lead to a graduate job.
- Apply for everything and don’t be too picky – you are unlikely to land your dream job straight away after leaving college or graduating, and there will be a lot of competition for each role, so make sure you apply for as many jobs as you can and consider roles that will give your good transferable skills and experience.
- Don’t put up with being treated badly – it is understandable to feel like you can’t speak up if you are in a junior or entry level role and you are being treated badly, but no job is worth your mental health.