An experience of a lifetime

A stunning skyline in the Bay of Biscay

A stunning skyline in the Bay of Biscay

Volunteering is becoming increasingly important in giving graduates the best chance of landing their dream jobs or providing them with valuable life experiences. We caught up with alumna Lucy Mcleod who reflects on her experiences. 


Lucy McLeod
BSC Marine Biology 2015
Wildlife Officer – ORCA

For as long as I can remember my ambition has been to work at sea, saving whales and dolphins. So after completing my degree I approached the Portsmouth-based charity ORCA and volunteered to help in any role they could give me. I got lucky and was invited on school visits around the Solent as part of the ‘Your Seas, People and Port’ campaign.

Thanks to my degree and the numerous presentations I have delivered throughout, I was confidently able to address large groups of people and present to them the true wonders of whales and dolphins, expelling passion into everything I spoke about. I was also able to volunteer in the charity’s main office performing a variety of administrative tasks.

A year later I landed the job of my dreams as Wildlife Officer for the charity.  I spend two weeks in every three sailing across the Bay of Biscay from Portsmouth to Spain and back, monitoring whales and dolphins. It’s more than I could have hoped for! A huge element of my role involves passenger engagement. On board I provide educational presentations for both adults and children on marine wildlife and conservation issues, as well as what they can expect to see during their crossing. I also host a variety of children’s activities throughout the summer holidays on the ship ranging from marine-themed arts and crafts using recycled materials, through to games and quizzes for all the family. 

I attribute this success to the months of volunteering in schools and I rely on that practice every single day in my job. There are so many opportunities out there for people from all walks of life, there is nothing stopping you from getting involved so just ask, that’s all I did.