MSc Energy Engineering with Environmental Management - Jamie Pimblett-Speck
Jamie Pimblett-Speck finished his MSc Energy Engineering with Environmental Management degree in 2021.
He currently works as a sustainability consultant at ERM Group following his industry-led dissertation with an offshore wind consultancy business.
What drew you to study Energy Engineering at UEA?
I graduated from my undergraduate degree in Chemistry in 2015, and I ended up working for a renewable start-up company in Cambridge.
This made me realise that I wanted to get involved in the energy industry in some way, shape, or form.
I knew that this course had decent contacts within the renewable industry, particularly offshore wind and nuclear, and I have lived in the East Anglia region for about four or five years now, so it seemed to make sense to come to UEA.
How would you describe your experience of the teaching on this course?
It’s clear that the lecturers on this course really understand and are interested in the subject.
On this MSc course there’s such a small number of students that you get the chance to interact one-on-one or in small groups with lecturers.
A lot of the professors have experience being involved in the local industry in the region, so they have an understanding of what careers are available. They have kept the course updated, and they make it relevant and useful to new students coming through.
What was the process of creating your dissertation?
I actually got offered a job at the company where I worked previously on the premise that I would do a dissertation with them.
They are an offshore wind company based in Lowestoft, so I was looking at how value is created within the industry, and the different stages in which people and companies get involved with offshore wind.
I worked for them three days a week, which meant that I had the joint benefits of getting paid whilst also finishing my degree. I had an industrial supervisor who is now my manager in my current job, and also an academic advisor at UEA. Being an industry-led dissertation, I did most of my work on a day-to-day basis with the company, but I always knew that support from UEA was there if I needed it.
What is your current role within your current company?
ERM Group is a global sustainability business providing innovative solutions to world-leading organisations.
I am currently involved in ERM’s Sustainable Energy Solutions unit, providing advisory services to companies in the hydrogen space. This covers many areas but may involve studying the market to provide guidance on how to best enter the sector or assisting a group of organisations to apply for significant quantities of funding from central governments.
Typically I work within a team of 2-3 other consultants all with varying degrees of experience and backgrounds, which helps greatly to develop a good solution for our clients.
Did you participate in any careers events or employability opportunities during your time at UEA?
There was the SELECT event in which companies came in and you had the opportunity to do mock interviews with them.
It was really useful to understand what businesses are in the region, and what jobs or internships they are offering.
There was also a two-day event with the East of England Energy Group where there were lots of people from different industries (nuclear, offshore, solar, wind), and they talked about how they expected the industries to adapt in the future.
How do you feel that this course has prepared you for going forward in your career?
There’s obviously a significant focus on engineering and the wind element of the course, but also the environmental management side of things.
In what I’m doing now you have to understand all of the different environmental factors that affect companies when they undertake significant projects.
There was also a module on electrical generation, and I wouldn’t have had the knowledge to understand transmission lines without it. I would say that 70-80 percent of the course has been directly relatable to what I’m doing now, and the rest was really interesting too.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering studying Energy Engineering at UEA?
If you’re keen on getting involved in the energy industry, having that background knowledge in all the different aspects of renewables and the energy sector so useful in a lot of job roles - even outside of this industry.
I know a lot of people get concerned about doing a Master's degree due to the expenses. But you will get a good qualification out of it and you will learn so much. I went back to being a student five years after I finished my undergraduate degree so it was a bit of a shock to my system, but honestly it is a case of: "Just do it!"