When it comes to jobs for STEMM graduates, the tech or resource industries often get all the fanfare.
But if you broaden your horizons and look beyond what’s popular, you’ll find many other industries that not only welcome STEMM graduates but actively pursue them.
One such industry is the port and shipping industry, which relies on STEMM graduates to improve operations, ensure safety, and steer itself towards a cleaner, greener, and brighter future.
We asked Kavya Jayaram, an Environmental Management Graduate at The Port of Felixstowe, to give us a glimpse of her budding career in the port and how rewarding it is for her.
Here’s what she shared.
What does a STEMM Grad at The Port of Felixstowe get to do?
As an environmental graduate, I help achieve the company’s environmental objectives and contribute to our carbon reduction objectives, energy management, and air quality strategies. This includes data management, analysis, and reporting. I also coordinate to organize environmental events.
What drew you to a career in STEMM?
Having a family background in business and geography, I developed a keen interest in environmental management at an early age. I did my degree in Environmental Engineering and moved to the UK in 2020 to pursue my master’s degree. Upon completing my Master’s in Environmental Management for Business at Cranfield University, I joined The Port of Felixstowe as an Environmental Management Graduate to kickstart my career.
What drew you to The Port of Felixstowe?
As the largest ports in the UK, The Port of Felixstowe impressed me with how it was making a positive impact on the environment despite its massive size and large-scale operations. The company’s projects also inspired me, and I knew their busy and challenging environment would help me explore the full potential of my skills and grow through job experience.
How has The Port of Felixstowe helped you develop your career so far?
Within a year of starting my career here, I have been enrolled in three courses and one management training, which is helping me in my career development.
Do you feel like you made the right choice working at The Port of Felixstowe?
As a graduate, I always envisioned myself working in a busy work environment to expand my knowledge and develop skills. And I am happy to say that this workplace is helping me to get exposed to many aspects of business. Being a part of this fast-paced, dynamic team that is extremely passionate about what they do, I feel that I made the right decision. As well, having a supportive and encouraging manager makes my work more enjoyable and I’m grateful to have Mike Lavender as my first manager in my career.
Who else helped you when you first started?
Everyone within our Safety and Environment department helped me to settle in well when I started. Especially, our safety officer (Zoe Fulcher) and our Port Harbour Master (Ashley Parker). During my first few weeks at work, Zoe helped me settle in and feel comfortable. Ashley, meanwhile, always has a helping hand. Despite his busy schedule, he took me on the ship for an inspection to help me learn more about the business. I had the opportunity to work with him on a couple of small tasks, and he always creates a fun work environment.
What do you think would surprise people about being a STEMM Grad at The Port of Felixstowe?
As a grad, working at the port is not just about desk work – there’s a lot to explore and learn. For instance, you might get the opportunity to visit ships for environmental inspections and take ship tours where you can expand your knowledge and meet people from different parts of the world.
What are the most challenging parts of your role as a Grad?
At the port, there can be some incidents that will require immediate responses – the pace and urgency can often be quite challenging.
How do you think being a Grad at The Port of Felixstowe makes an impact?
As a Grad, I am responsible for managing data and records for management and compliance purposes, which serve as the foundation for the company’s environmental projects. A major part of my role is to ensure our data work is strong to support future projects.
What’s an achievement you’ve made as a Grad that you’re immensely proud of?
As part of my work, I was assigned to tackle a problem that had been left unmanaged for quite a while. However, I resolved it within a day. That was one of my happiest moments.
What does your “best day ever” as a Graduate at The Port of Felixstowe look like?
Right now, it’s completing all tasks without any backlogs, enjoying and having a relaxing break with colleagues, and finishing the work with no stress.
If your teenage self saw you now, what would she think about you? And what would you say to her?
My old self would appreciate and respect all the decisions I made to reach this point, and she would be proud that I am living part of my dream life. And I would say thanks for never giving up and overcoming all the obstacles and challenges.
If there’s one thing to take from Kavya’s story, it’s that there are plenty of industries where STEMM graduates can thrive and build successful careers.
As technological innovations drive the world to change, doors will always be open for those with the right knowledge and skills. And when you work with an organization that values what you offer and invests in your growth, you’ll find it easier to achieve bigger, better, and more impactful goals.
As parting advice for her fellow STEMM graduates, Kavya shares the biggest lesson she’s learned in her career so far:
“Regardless of your role, you can always make a difference with your work. No one is an overnight expert – just enjoy your work and strengthen your skills.”