Life as an RPS graduate in 2020

16 Dec 2020

I joined RPS as a graduate Human Factors Consultant within the Health, Safety and Risk (HSR) team back in March this year, just as a national lockdown to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic was being implemented.

My interest in Human Factors first began during Design classes at school, where physical ergonomics was considered in its basic form (e.g. when designing a product to be handled by its user). This was followed by an initially unconscious journey towards Human Factors, through seeking the value within design. I discovered that I was driven towards areas of inclusive and sustainable design which centred around the capabilities of the user and considering the context of use within the environment.

"The more I understood about Human Factors, the larger my appetite for it and I began to understand both its importance for, and application to, optimisation of human wellbeing and system performance within so many disciplines and sectors." says Chris

Before starting with RPS, I completed a degree in Industrial Design with Technology and a Master’s degree in Human Factors with Inclusive Design, both at Loughborough University. The MSc course is designed to apply ergonomic principles to design for improved usability; learn how to integrate Human Factors within the system and the wider context of use such as considering the environmental, psychological and physical elements, which all play a crucial role in ensuring safety, system and operator performance.

RPS has ensured that I feel part of the team despite the novel start. This has been achieved by holding daily video calls which allows everyone to see each other, and for me to ask questions more easily and gain regular feedback on my work. This has also provided me with the opportunity to be involved in those other work discussions and social chats that I would've otherwise missed out on due to working remotely. I have spoken to directors, sector leads and other consultants from a range of disciplines, these calls have also helped me to broaden my understanding of the full range of services the HSR team offer.

Chris commented; "Starting my graduate role, virtually from within the bedroom of my new apartment in a new city during the height of a global pandemic, is certainly a novel experience. The support from my RPS colleagues has quickly made me feel part of the Human Factors team, applying and developing my Human Factors skills to support interesting design and operational challenges."

I am currently working towards obtaining my National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) National Health & Safety certificate, and also supporting two projects; a large scale new-build project dealing with the reprocessing and repackaging of nuclear material for safe storage over the next 100+ years and a project to replace a control system. Although it has been challenging to gain a competent understanding of a complex new-build project as a remotely working graduate, the team have utilised a 3D model to perform virtual plant walkdowns, examined design documentation electronically, which has also allowed me to apply and develop my knowledge of anthropometrics, task analysis and equipment design.

Our Human Factors team is growing! Are you ready for a new challenge? Join us to solve problems that matter.

Due to an increasing volume of work, we have an exciting opportunity for another driven and enthusiastic graduate to join our expanding Human Factors team, working in our major hazard safety business. A career in our team will see you working alongside leading professionals to deliver a variety of exciting projects, providing specialist support within high hazard industries.

To apply, or find out more about this role, click here. The closing date for applications is 22 January 2021.To be considered for future Human Factors positions, please send your CV to


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