Geology rocks

PUBLISHED: 13:41 07 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:25 06 May 2010

NAME: Adam Taylor AGE: 28 OCCUPATION: Geologist PERSONAL: Adam grew up in Hull and studied geology at Durham University before doing a postgraduate course in geophysics. On leaving his postgraduate course, he joined an oil company and works in exploratio

NAME: Adam Taylor

AGE: 28

OCCUPATION: Geologist

PERSONAL: Adam grew up in Hull and studied geology at Durham University before doing a postgraduate course in geophysics.

On leaving his postgraduate course, he joined an oil company and works in exploration.

JOB DESCRIPTION

Adam's job involves identifying areas where resources are likely to be found, both onshore and offshore, by carrying out seismic surveys - generating seismic waves and recording reflections from layers of rock, sediment, oil or gas underneath the surface.

This information is collected and then evaluated, and, if promising results are obtained, further tests and drilling take place to confirm the presence of oil.

His work can take him all over the world, but much of it is also office-based and involves using computers.

SKILLS & PERSONALITY

Adam has always had an interest in geology, and joined the Geological Society as a boy - a good move for anyone interested in this career path.

As with all scientific jobs, geologists need investigative and inquiring minds, with the ability to think clearly and logically, as well as the ability to interpret numerical data, statistics and maps.

As the science is constantly progressing, geologists should be able to adapt to ideas as well as keep abreast of current research, and most will have to work with computers.

Written and verbal communication skills are required, and geologists should be able to work alone or as part of a team. They should be practical and resourceful, act on their own initiative and possess manual dexterity.

Many jobs require good health and normal colour vision.

TRAINING & ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Most need a degree in geology, although a first degree in a related subject like maths, physics or chemistry is permissible, followed by the appropriate post graduate course in one of the geosciences.

The British Geological Survey employs most geologists in Britain, and entry at scientific officer level requires a good degree, higher national diploma or certificate in a scientific, engineering or mathematical subject.

Employers usually provide induction training and supervise work for an initial period, with further in-service training as required. It may also be possible to study for a postgraduate degree at work.

The British Geological Survey runs ongoing and extensive training and development programmes for staff right through their careers.

EARNINGS & PROSPECTS

The British Geological Survey offers starting salaries of around £18,000 for a scientific officer, rising to £35,000 plus allowances for a senior scientific officer.

Rates of pay in industry are higher, especially for those with postgraduate qualifications, and there are special allowances for those working overseas. But short-term contracts are common, both in industry or academic research, and as it is a relatively small field, competition for places can be intense.

Depending on the organisation, there may be opportunities to move on to more senior scientific or ministerial posts. In time, experienced geologists can become self-employed consultants.

MAIN MOAN

"We have to go to some pretty inhospitable places to do our work. It's not a career you want to get into if you can't handle being either very cold or very hot."

MAIN SATISFACTION

"I like the variety of moving around and working in different places. It's better than being stuck in an office."

MORE INFORMATION

British Geological Survey, Kingsley Dunham Centre, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG. Telephone: 0115 936 3209 Website www.bgs.ac.uk


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