Animal Welfare graduate excels on HS2 project

10th July 2023

An Animal Behaviour & Welfare graduate from Solihull College & University Centre is making rapid progress in the Environmental team at Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV), HS2’s construction partner for the West Midlands.

Alice Harvey found her passion in the field of conservation after completing a module as part of her degree and shared this with her lecturer Claudine Barnes. Alice explains: “Claud put me in touch with her former student who had recently got a job as an Ecologist at BBV, and I ended up speaking to their recruitment team. I applied for a job as an Environmental Technician working on HS2. A few weeks after completing my final exam at the College, I was offered the role!”

Alice wearing orange hi vis jacket and hard hat at HS2 site
Alice's role as Environmental Coordinator involves visiting HS2 sites and raising environmental awareness

Within a year of working with BBV, Alice was promoted to Environmental Coordinator where she is tasked with helping to ensure BBV’s 90km stretch of the HS2 route is environmentally compliant and advises site teams on environmental constraints and licensing requirements. She comments: “I enjoy going on site and building a strong rapport with my colleagues and raising their environmental awareness. I work on initiatives such as ensuring we reuse any waste wood to build bird boxes which we donate to local communities.”

Alice started her degree at the College as a mature student and credits the department’s Head of School, Claire Powell, for providing her with options and guiding her towards the BSc Animal Behaviour & Welfare. Alice adds: “I ultimately chose the College because I was impressed with the environment, and I wasn’t looking to return to a standard university but rather a place with lecturers invested in your journey.”

Speaking of Alice, Claudine comments: “Alice was an exceptional student throughout her time at the College, not only in terms of her achievements but also in her contribution to College life. Her academic success has been outstanding. She achieved a first-class honours and the highest score for a dissertation that the department has ever awarded (94%). Her coursework was of the highest calibre.”

The BSc Animal Behaviour & Welfare degree is offered in partnership with Oxford Brookes University. Alice was awarded the Oxford Brookes University award at the College’s graduation ceremony which she described as a great honour: “My entire experience at the College was really positive and it was heartwarming for it to be wrapped up with an award recognising hard work. I received so much support from the staff who were always there for you and wanted you to succeed.

Alice on HS2 site with hi vis gear on
Alice was promoted to Environmental Coordinator from Technician within a year of working with BBV

“Claud was amazing and motivated and inspired me every day to achieve more. Her passion for the subject and for teaching is clear to see and if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have made it to the end. All the staff were there for me through my hardest times.”

Alice is focussed on continuing learning on the job and developing herself as a strong environmental advisor which may take her to new horizons abroad in the future. For now, she’s dedicated to completing the HS2 project with BBV.

Find out more about the College’s Animal Welfare & Veterinary Nursing courses: Animal Welfare & Veterinary Nursing