Fishing for Success

Lowri hard at work with a Lobster!Lowri hard at work with a Lobster!Anglesey Sea Zoo is one of many businesses taking advantage of GO Wales, an initiative that provides university graduates with placements and work tasters in an area related to their degree.

GO Wales offer opportunities that provide excellent skills and experience to enhance a graduate’s CV in this tough economic climate.  Yet, at the same time the initiative helps local businesses, including small to medium size businesses (SMEs) to recruit, retain and develop graduates. GO Wales is funded through the Welsh Assembly Government and European Union’s Convergence Fund and is managed  by the Careers and Employability Service at Bangor University.

Anglesey Sea Zoo is a popular tourist attraction on the Isle of Anglesey. They recently offered a ten week paid work placement for a graduate to work as part of the biological team at the zoo and local Marine Biology graduate, Lowri Elen Evans from Bangor University was the nominated placee.

Lowri had a brilliant time on placement at the sea zoo explaining that it was not like any other job she had done before,

‘Working at the Sea Zoo is totally different from a normal 9-5 job. Something different happens every day! It was such a privilege to be able to work with such beautiful and interesting animals found around the British coast, ranging from octopus to 3m long Conger Eels to rare British seahorses.’

She was involved in designing and building up tanks for displays, collecting, transferring and feeding the animals, giving public talks and guided tours and conducted beach safaris. The skills Lowri gained through public talks are what she considered to be most valuable. Before coming to the Sea Zoo she considered herself shy but by the end of her placement she was always the first aquarist to volunteer to give public talks, ‘I really enjoy talking to the public and teaching them about marine life, conservation and discussing important environmental issues.’ Lowri commented that the placement was the perfect stepping stone between her degree and beginning a career in marine research and conservation.

Lowri also enjoyed being part of what is classed as a small to medium size business (SME):

 ‘It is a dynamic and exciting place to work, and the zoo team are a friendly and interesting bunch of people to work with. I feel so privileged to have been a part of the team.’

Lowri’s mentor Dylan Evans, Managing Partner of the Sea Zoo, echoes the positivity of the scheme: 

‘I rate Lowri’s work very highly. She was able to quickly develop an understanding of the outcomes that we as a company wanted and therefore she could work independently and free up the time of our core biological staff.’

Dylan rated the GO Wales scheme very highly and as a result the Sea Zoo is still in cooperation with the initiative. Lowri concluded that she had gained so much valuable experience on the work placement and earning money at the same time made it an even bigger incentive, ‘I recommend it to all of my graduate friends!’

If you are a business in Anglesey, Conwy or Gwynedd with an interest in receiving financial support to host graduates then you can contact Elinor Churchill or Becky Ryan on 01248 383586 or by email: gowales@bangor.ac.uk. If you are a student who is interested in taking part in a Go Wales placement you can register your interest on their website www.gowales.co.uk.

Publication date: 7 April 2011