This week’s Sector Spotlight is focusing on the Energy Industry. Today, we hear from Siobhan Peace, who is a Study Director with National Oilwell Varco Wellstream Processing (NOV) on Flotta.
After starting a degree in Architecture, Siobhan realised that wasn’t the correct career path for her so switched to a degree in Zoology. She started with NOV as a Laboratory Technician and worked her way up to her current role as Study Director.
Can you describe a typical day in your role as Study Director?
In our ecotoxicology lab we conduct tests to determine the toxicity of materials. As Study Director, I ensure these tests run to GLP (Good Laboratory Practice) and to guidelines. I am responsible for any test I sign my name to, so it is my job to see to any issues, however I am also very involved in the practical running of the tests. I also help with the day to day running of the lab. Generally, I am responsible for the culturing and test work of our marine and freshwater algae species.
How did you end up in this role?
I actually started off studying Architecture at university! But, when I decided this really wasn’t the career path for me, I switched out to study zoology. Most of my working career has been in hospitality, mainly working in kitchens, until I got a Laboratory Technician position within my company. From there I worked up to becoming a Study Director.
What is the best thing about your job?
I enjoy getting to use the knowledge I learned in my university courses. It’s quite rewarding when troubleshooting to be able to understand why something is behaving in a particular way – for example why an algae culture might be behaving the way it is – then being able to work out a solution based on this understanding.
What is the worst thing about your job?
I think the only thing I would like is a bit more field-based work. My job is very much lab focussed (and I enjoy that!) but I am always a bit envious of my friends who went on to have a much more fieldwork-based career.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
As with most places, working as a team is essential. I need to work closely with the other Study Directors and the Lab Technicians to make sure tests run smoothly and we all are aware of what’s going on.
What qualifications do you have?
I have a BSc (Hons) 2:1 in Zoology.
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
Yes, especially those with an interest in science. At the laboratory technician entry level, full training is given as we work to GLP so it’s a brilliant place to start to gain experience within a laboratory setting.
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