From Mozambique to cling-wrapping a teacher’s car, then Maties Rugby, and now managing Canada’s nuclear waste, Warwick Watt is leaving dots all over the interest-spectrum – and credits his wide range of interests (and career path) to his alma mater, Creston College.
We’re yet to come across a more interesting career! As a Geologist specialising in nuclear waste management, Warwick and his team develop solutions for the long-term storage of Canada’s used nuclear waste. ‘It’s a world-leading project in which I’m proud to be involved.’ After 18 months in Canada while working with De Beers – enjoying dog sleds, running from grizzly bears, and dreaming at the Northern Lights – Warwick couldn’t resist emigrating there permanently.
His love for Geology stems from Mrs Render, his Geography teacher at Creston College. ‘She was so passionate about her Geology and that fascination rubbed off on me.’ Similarly, the school introduced him to a wide range of other interests – including rugby, in which he progressed to play for Maties Rugby (Stellenbosch University) while studying BSc Earth Science (Geology). When asked how he balanced his academics with such a stringent exercise regime, he responds ‘I had to prioritize and quickly realized that there will always be another braai with friends, but this could be my last rugby season.’ However, he put aside his rugby aspirations during his honours year and decided to focus on his studies.
There’s always room for fun, though … Warwick remembers wrapping Mrs Laura Guest’s car in cling wrap on his last school day and lifting the chassis of the car ever-so-slightly onto blocks. ‘When she finally figured out why her wheels just kept spinning, she found it hilarious! Her husband didn’t, though …’ He’s also still in touch with some of his school friends, including Michael Barnard, Lauren Aaron, Samantha Larter, and Scott Bouverie.
As the head boy of his class, he reassures current learners to not be afraid when making career decisions. ‘The world is bigger than you realize, and you can always change or adapt your career path along the way.’ He says the most important thing is to give 100% to everything you do, so that you can change directions while keeping your head high.
‘The leadership lessons and exposure I got from the school has been invaluable in my career. The school truly set me up to become a well-rounded person, with an appreciation for excellence in all walks of life.’
We have to know: what about lockdown in Canada?
While South Africans were on house arrest for five weeks and then gradually adjusted to the new normal, Warwick’s experience was quite different. ‘Canada also went into lockdown, but it lasted only six weeks and we were still allowed to move around as long as you maintained social distancing. As everyone cooperated and obeyed the regulations, we fared quite well – especially when compared to our southern neighbours (the USA).’