From Aberdeen to Exploring Europe for Minerals - Gavin BerkenhegerGavin Berkenheger

BSc (Hons) Geology-Petroleum Geology, 2006
From Aberdeen to Exploring Europe for Minerals

Your Time at Aberdeen

Why did you choose to study at Aberdeen?
I visited all the major universities in Scotland but as soon as I stepped off the bus at King's College I knew Aberdeen was the place for me. Not only was Aberdeen University the best place in the UK to study Petroleum Geology but the fresh sea air reminded me of home.

Why did you choose your particular course?
I initially started out with Geography and Geology due to my interests in the natural world but gravitated to the latter mainly due to job prospects. On asking my geography lecturer in second year what job I can expect with a geography degree he replied "Geography Teacher" - I made up my mind to stick with geology.

What did you most enjoy about your time at Aberdeen? Did you have any particularly memorable student experiences?
Our fieldtrips were undoubtedly the most memorable experiences at university; be it dripping with sweat at the top of the Pyrenees in Spain or cowering below an overhang eating soggy sandwiches in Ballachulish, we always enjoyed a good blend of geology and banter which I continue to carry with me in the field today as a professional exploration geologist.

If you were involved in any clubs and societies as a student, what did you enjoy most about them and what benefit do you think they have for students?
I was a member of the break dancing society at university. Here I was able to let off some steam, get a good workout without the need to go to the boring gym, listen to some uplifting music and meet people outside of the geology labs.

If talking to a group of prospective students, what advice would you give them to help them make the most of their time at the University of Aberdeen?
Get involved with as much as you can; make the most of your time there. The University offers so many opportunities for your own personal growth outside of your chosen subject. Be it mingling with people from all around the world, participating in new sports and activities or learning about other subjects from new friends, there is so much more to the university experience other than study.

Your Time After Aberdeen

What was the title of your first job after graduating from Aberdeen?
Junior Geologist at Alba Mineral Resources, who continue to explore for minerals all around the world.

What did your first role involve?
My first role involved managing and conducting multiple ground investigation surveys in Aberdeenshire in the search for nickel. Initially it felt like I was thrown in at the deep end having left the sanctuary of the university for the real world of hard work, but I was ready to make my mark on the world and I've never looked back since.

What is your current job title?
I am managing director of GreenOre Gold plc and Director of my own geological consultancy: Grid Surveys Europe Ltd., who provide geological consultancy for the mineral exploration sector.

What is your current role?
As managing director I am involved in all aspects of the business.

Please briefly describe the journey from your first job after graduating to where you are now.
After my contract finished with my first employer I was hired as a geologist by an Irish-based geological consultancy firm and posted all over Ireland and the UK conducting various ground investigation surveys, core logging services and drill site management. I was then hired by Dalradian Gold Ltd. and assisted in developing a multi million ounce gold deposit in Northern Ireland. In 2013, along with my business partner we set up GreenOre Gold plc to explore for gold in Scotland. Over the past seven years we have generated multiple projects and signed numerous deals.

Was your degree at Aberdeen essential for getting to where you are now? If so, in what way?
Yes. It was necessary to hold a degree in geology, otherwise it would have been a lot more difficult to make my way up the career ladder.

One Top Tip

Just do it and don't look back! Take every opportunity to cultivate your mind and grow then help others and make the world a better place.