Whilst studying A-Level, I was not sure what I wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to do something different, challenging and something with good career prospects which brought me across Environmental Health at Cardiff Met. Environmental Health provides students with a wealth of opportunities within the field, whether that being in the Public Sector or Private Sector within Food Safety and Hygiene, Environmental Protection, Health and Safety, Housing and Public Health.
The course has a good relationship with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health who provide opportunities for students to volunteer at conferences which provides excellent networking opportunities. It was at one of these events I became aware of a paid, year placement opportunity at a Local Authority Environmental Health department.
The core employability module undertaken at year 2 is invaluable in building confidence and the required skills and knowledge of writing CVs, application forms and developing the skills to successfully apply for work within the field. There are scheduled workshops and lectures with guest speakers who provide an insight to what a good application and successful candidates look like.
It became evident that the course at Cardiff Met supplements what EHPs do in practice and make students into a rounded practitioner that are ready to hit the ground running.
The opportunity to undertake a year placement has been an excellent opportunity to further my skills, knowledge and aptitude within the field as a result of being able to apply the taught content in practice and on return to the University, being able to apply the acquired knowledge and technical skills, to set briefs and tasks which subsequently improved my final grades greatly.
The role of an EHP is varied and you come across so many different things, it was an excellent opportunity to have this insight into the role prior to graduating. One day you may be conducting an inspection at a Food premises, the next you could be analysing Air Quality data, resolving housing concerns or dealing with nuisance complaints amongst other interventions.
As a result of being proactive and seeking this placement opportunity, I had the skills and knowledge required to undertake the role of an EHP and was confident to approach my current employer for work and fortunately secured a part time job with them during my final year, prior to being made full time on completion of the degree.
My advice to anyone considering an Environmental Health degree is to seek opportunities for work experience, approach potential employers to spend some time with them around your studies and cease every opportunity that arises. It not only improves your grades, it builds confidence, technical knowledge and skills and career prospects.