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Case studies

Claire Peter

Claire Peter now runs her own ground stabilisation business, but had always thought she was going to become a lawyer. What happened in between?

Claire Peter

Claire loved sport at school but knew that she wanted to keep it as a hobby, so decided that a career in Law would be the answer. In preparation for studying at University she completed an HND in Land Administration, and found that she really enjoyed the construction side. She ended up applying for a Building Surveying degree because it offered a good variety of subjects including Law, construction and structural engineering.

In her year out Claire worked for British Steel and spent much of the time working underground completing mine surveys. When she went to apply for a job after graduation she told her potential employer, 'I've got a degree but I want to start at the bottom'. She explains further, ' I knew I was going into a male dominated world so I wanted to feel really confident. I felt that I needed a sound basis and lots of experience on which to draw so I could feel confident when challenged.'

Claire's first job was with Interserve (formerly Tilbury Douglas construction company) and she worked on a number of redevelopment projects for Sheffield schools PFI and the English Institute of Sport at Don Valley. Despite training as a Building Surveyor her first role was as a 'Graduate Engineer' doing snagging, picking up problems, checking progress against plans and checking levels. She picked up lots of valuable experience and really enjoyed the variety, 'especially knocking down my old school! Every child's dream…..!'

After about two years Claire went to work for a specialist contractor as her original job would have taken her away from the area and she didn’t want to live out of a suitcase. Over the next four years Claire worked for two different organisations picking up a range of skills in ground stabilisation, business management and company set-up. Both companies were very supportive, and in Claire's view 'They taught me enough so I could set up on my own'.

This was very fortunate as Claire was actually made redundant - twice. However, within a week of this happening the second time, she had set up a new company and had secured guaranteed work to more than pay her salary.

Currently Earth-Tech Solutions employs two people, Claire as Technical Director and her partner as Operations Director. For the first time in three years they have just started advertising, having previously secured all their work through word of mouth and through contacts developed over her working life. Claire's intention is to expand the company and she feels they are making real headway on doing that right now.

Earth-Tech Solutions Limited provides consultancy and design for ground stabilisation using the materials on the site rather than importing, and they also offer contaminated land remediation. Their clients are varied including consulting engineers and contractors developing sites. For more information about the company visit their website at

Claire really enjoys her work and feels that no two days are ever the same. She regularly makes site visits and undertakes trial pit observations. Her work also involves taking samples of materials to the lab which in turn enable her to design appropriate solutions for the sites. She finds the practical aspects of her work really rewarding and says, 'When I drive past I can think, I worked on that'.

Outside of work Claire likes to socialise with friends and family and keep fit through jogging and sport. She feels that running her own business allows her to manage her own time and suit herself which provides a good quality of life.

If offering advice to anyone thinking about career options and going to University, Claire says, 'Pick a degree with lots of variety and try not to limit your career choices too early. If you keep your options open you can diversify what you do.'

Added on: 07/08/2009