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Growing a career in Marine Consenting and Environment

Offering our team career progression is very important to us at RPS. To find out what this means in practice, we met up with two members of our Marine Consenting & Environment team (MC&E). Find out how they are building their careers with us, working on projects that matter to them.

29 May 2024 | 5 min read
ON THIS PAGE

Meet Sam and Tom

Samantha Tuddenham joined RPS in 2018, after a year at a smaller environmental consultancy. She’s now the Offshore Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Manager for a major development, the Mona Offshore Wind Project – having gone from Graduate Consultant to Principal Consultant in just six years during her time at RPS.

Consultant Tom Griffin-Beale did a placement with RPS during his Master’s degree. Despite Covid-19 making this fully remote, Tom discovered how interested he was in large-scale renewables projects. After he graduated in 2021, RPS offered him his first permanent role. He’s now helping to co-ordinate his team’s latest cohort of graduates and has worked on the Mona, Morgan and Berwick Bank offshore wind projects.

What first led you to RPS?

Sam: “I was looking for a role in a multidisciplinary consultancy with opportunities across several sectors and specialisms. Being part of a large consultancy team at RPS has meant a really varied job, with both project management and technical roles. I’ve had a big support network and there’s been a lot of scope to progress.”

Tom attended presentations at his university’s placement fair. He too was drawn to consultancy’s variety and range of skillsets, compared with roles focussed on specific technical services. He got interested in RPS projects when he learned about our work supporting major renewables developments internationally.

Tom adds that during the RPS presentation, one of our Consultants and a Technical Director stood out. “They were just very funny and nice! You could tell they were comfortable around each other, which I thought gave a good vibe about the company in general.”

What have you worked on so far?

Sam: “I’ve been very  lucky – I’ve been able to experience many different projects. I started out supporting the EIA Manager on an offshore wind project. I’ve authored technical EIAs across a number of marine specialisms, as well as undertaking in-field environmental surveys. I now manage a team of offshore technical specialists working on the Mona EIA. (RPS is quite unusual in that we have so many different specialisms). 

To find out more about our specialisms, click here

“I’ve had the chance to work on projects across many different phases of the offshore wind project lifecycles, such as site selection, consent applications and Operations & Maintenance. It’s given me a good grounding that allows me to support clients more effectively because I understand where the project has been, where it will go, and what’s required in each of those stages.”

Tom’s list of activities so far has included gaining a strong understanding of the offshore wind consenting process, putting together contractor agreements and technical chapters for EIA reports, and leading on finalisation (checking report documents before submission). He also attends meetings with clients and other stakeholders. “It suits me because I enjoy working with people and getting into technical details,” he says, “and there’s the continuity of being able to see a project right the way through.”

Energy & Renewables - Offshore Wind Farm

Sam: “I’ve been working on the Mona Offshore Wind Project for the last three years, but I’ve never spent more than a year doing the same role. There’s lots of variety, which means I’m constantly progressing.”

How would you say your careers have grown?

Sam: “It’s been a steep learning curve! Having worked on fast-moving projects, I’ve grown my organisational, interpersonal and client-facing skills. My confidence in my abilities has increased too. Our team has been a big part of that, supporting me with opportunities to progress and on things that are outside my comfort zone.”
 
Tom: “I’ve been given responsibility from the very start, and this has evolved as our team has grown. One of the things I’ve learned more recently is delegation! The graduates I’m working with are fantastic, which makes it easier, and I’ve got incredible role models in the team and the senior leadership.”

What career support have you had – both formal and informal?

Sam: “RPS encourages you to set clear goals for yourself through career development plans. I have discussions with my managers about my career goals and where I see myself in one to five years. In this team, if you communicate your goals, they’ll make every effort to get you there.”
 
Tom notes how his manager follows up on his goals, making a point of revisiting ideas from mid-year progress reviews in his regular weekly check-ins. “If I enjoyed something, they ask how they can get me doing more of that, or if I said I found something more challenging, it’s how can we support you? Beyond my line managers, the people I work with look out for each other as well.”

Both agree that consultancy can sometimes require extra commitment and long hours, but Sam adds, “Managers here are interested in your work-life balance and our senior staff are approachable. You can always ask questions or reach out to a colleague for a chat.”

Why should someone consider RPS for their next career move?

Sam: “As a big consultancy, we have the flexibility to take on a variety of different projects. That means members of the team have the opportunity to do the same. Our Marine Consenting and Environment team has grown fast to enable this, and we’re a leader in the market during a time of high demand, particularly for offshore wind consultancies. The culture and people are great too – the fact that many of them have worked here for 10 years or more is testament to that.”

Tom: “What I like about RPS is the high standards of work – so if something is good enough, it’s really good. But there isn’t a negative flipside to that: if something isn’t right, there isn’t a bad atmosphere. It just gets brought up to standard. You can be genuinely proud of your work and what you do.”

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