Sebastian Belcher

Country: Kenya, United Kingdom
Sector: Utilities and Renewable Energy
Job title: Innovation Projects Lead
Subject of study: Energy Engineering
Year of graduation: 2020
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Grid Edge Limited

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

I did a consultancy project conducting an energy audit and designing an electrical distribution network. I worked as an Environment Health and Safety Manager on a short term contract before finding my current job.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I love understanding how things work and wanted to solve a big problem in the world. For someone who likes taking things apart and designing things, engineering seemed like a natural choice and energy was the biggest opportunity to design and build new technologies that solve a challenge the works is facing. I enjoy being in R&D and helping build products that will help the energy industry transition to net zero.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

Renewable energy society, engineers without borders, athletics club, surf club.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

Learning the theory and applying it with practicals. It’s too touch to choose one, so I’ll give 3 (chronologically): 1. Designing and building a micro-hydro turbine 2. Building an embedded control system 3. Working with a tidal developer to test the feasibility of a patented technology for real world application.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

Having a small course, it was great knowing everyone, getting to know (and be known) by lecturers. It was a great community of like-minded people.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

The course was the best for what I wanted to study. I heard good things about the course and the university.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Financial analysis for engineering projects, project management, engineering design and testing/experiments (these are ones more applicable to me specifically). Future skills that will be important are: understanding implications of moving towards net zero (sustainable practices); learning to apply current skills to new processes; learning.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Know and understand the politics of engineering projects. Unfortunately (but probably correctly) this can’t be separated from engineering work. When looking for jobs, let recruiters help you (and possibly actively look for them) – they make it much easier. Be active on LinkedIn – this is how you become a voice in the industry and build your reputation and visibility.

What are your plans for the future?

Work towards engineering chartership. Gain as much experience in energy-related skills as possible while building new ones and use them to help with the transition to net zero.

 

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