Determination turns adversity into educational journey of success
First-class student lands dream job
A highly motivated geography student from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), who arrived at UCLan through clearing on a foundation programme has now graduated with a first-class honours degree and landed a role working for an international company where he focuses on ecological consultancy.
Ryan Evans, 22, from Bolton enrolled at UCLan determined to make the most of his second chance. “I didn’t perform well in my A Levels and my results were a real shock to the system,” he explained. “I was very worried but UCLan gave me a chance through their foundation degree programme. Once I’d passed the foundation course and enrolled on the full-time geography degree I never looked back.”
Ryan always wanted to work outside in a nature-related role and originally thought that geology might be his career calling but a three-week field trip to Guyana, as part of his UCLan course, stimulated his passion for ecology.
After a week spent in the capital Georgetown, Ryan and his fellow students ventured into the rain forest where sightings of giant spiders, scorpions and crocodiles were daily occurrences.
"The course was certainly challenging, but if you’re organised and put the hours in you’ll get your rewards."
“We went on some amazing night walks where we saw a huge variety of wildlife in its natural habitat. It was an experience I’ll always remember,” he enthused.
“My tutors Dr Kevin Butt and Dr Chris Lowe inspired me to go down the ecological route. They have really given me a passion for the subject and I can’t thank them enough. Learning from a book is one thing but there is no substitute for getting out there and seeing how things work in practice.
“The course was certainly challenging, but if you’re organised and put the hours in you’ll get your rewards.”
Before finishing his course, Ryan started applying for jobs and his enthusiasm, hard work and persistence paid off when he landed a job at a global ecological consultancy.
He added: “I’m really enjoying the role which involves the production of ecological surveys to monitor the habitats of protected wildlife such as bats, great crested newts and breeding birds. The survey results help to inform the decisions made by firms over the development of construction sites.”
"Ryan came through the foundation degree route and has achieved a huge amount in his four years at UCLan."
As well as graduating with top marks, the 22-year-old also picked up the School of Forensic and Applied Sciences prize for best student in the area of Geography/Environmental Management.
Commenting on Ryan’s achievements UCLan’s Dr Kevin Butt said: “Ryan came through the foundation degree route and has achieved a huge amount in his four years at UCLan. He undertook his dissertation on the use of exotic plant species by pollinating insects and the result were so good that we may seek to publish them. He leaves us with a first-class honours degree and I’m sure he has a very successful career ahead of him.”
In the future Ryan plans to continue his educational journey by studying for a Masters qualification but for the time being he is concentrating on his day job, a six-month contract with the potential to become permanent. “I’m taking it day-by-day but I’m a firm believer that opportunities arise if you put yourself out there, I think I’m living proof of that.”