Careers In Soil Science

Mar 13, 2024 | Blog, Featured, Featured Blog

Written by BSSS EC Committee Member, Jess Potts from Arcadis

As I near the end of my time on the Early Career Committee and begin to plan my transition to full membership, I took some time to reflect upon my professional evolution – from student, to researcher, to a Consultant Soil Scientist at Arcadis. I am heavily involved in the environmental planning for major infrastructure projects across the country, and as such I have deepened my appreciation of the indispensable role that soil science can have in shaping sustainable development.

My career took a typically traditional pathway, from school to university, to further research. My transition to consultancy at Arcadis then marked a pivotal moment, where I was presented multiple opportunities to merge my existing theoretical knowledge with practical real-life applications. Working with dynamic multi-disciplinary teams on large-scale infrastructure projects has underscored the critical importance of soil practitioners within the environmental planning process.

I have found that soil science, as a discipline, is uniquely inclusive, welcoming individuals from diverse educational and professional backgrounds. The field offers a spectrum of entry points, ranging from apprenticeships and academic pathways to on-the-job training programmes and graduate schemes. This diversity not only enriches the workforce but also strengthens the multi-disciplinary nature of our profession.

In the capacity of a Consultant Soil Scientist, my work involves contributing to projects that can significantly influence the landscape of tomorrow. Environmental planning for substantial infrastructure developments necessitates a comprehensive understanding of soil behaviours and characteristics, as well as understanding the broader implications of its handling and management. From evaluating soil quality to proposing sustainable solutions, every endeavour presents an opportunity to effect lasting positive change.

The societal impact of soil practitioners cannot be overstated. In a world grappling with environmental challenges, our expertise is fundamental to fostering sustainable solutions. As custodians of the Earth beneath our feet, soil practitioners play a pivotal role in ensuring that infrastructure aligns with environmental and ecological integrity.

To prospective soil scientists and practitioners, I encourage you to embrace the wide range of entry points available within this field. Whether through apprenticeships, internships, or academic pursuits, each avenue contributes uniquely to a robust skill set. The soils science community stands as a supportive network, poised to inspire, and guide the next generation of soil professionals. The development by the British Society of Soil Science, supported by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, marks a significant step forward in providing greater opportunity and routes into soil science as a career.

In cultivating a passion for soil science, we can unlock the secrets beneath our feet, fostering a sustainable future for generations to come.

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