Date Posted... Feb 18th 2020



Tim Sykes CO09

How a passion for the ocean led Tim into a career in marine science


Tim attended Truro School from 2002-2009 alongside his brother Alex Sykes CO11. After the last day of School, Tim travelled straight to Switzerland to start a three-month ski instructor course, before taking a year out before university. During that year, Tim shared that he spent time travelling around Europe, teaching skiing to school children and working in Cornwall. He then moved to Plymouth to begin a four-year BSc in Geography and Ocean Science, followed by an EU-funded MRes in Applied Marine Science.

Growing up, Tim said he had always wanted to fly helicopters, but his passion for the sea led him into marine science, oceanography, meteorology and project management.

Tim is currently working as a Marine Operations Manager for a small company who provide professional weather forecasting services to super yachts and cruise ships.

We also provide weather information to harbours, ports and other bespoke activities. In Cornwall, I mainly focus on research and development projects, usually in conjunction with local research centres. I manage commercial activities related to meteorological and oceanographic installations, whilst my colleagues in Italy carry out the day-to-day forecasting.

We asked Tim if he is particularly proud of anything in his career so far? I’m proud to have been given the opportunity to work all over the world with amazing people, in an industry I am passionate about. But my main aim was to return to Cornwall and I am really pleased that I was able to return to the county in April 2018 to work and live by the sea.

Away from work, Tim lives in Mawnan, near Falmouth with his girlfriend, Clare and their Sprocker puppy, Bosloe. In his free time, he likes to do plenty of dog walking, plays football, badminton and surfs at weekends. Tim also enjoys entering races and events such as a Hope Trail Festival in Plymouth. We asked him if he has ever revisited the School, he says: I have visited the School a couple of times, once for a career event, and also for the Truro triathlon. It was fun to get back in the swimming pool!

We were delighted to learn that Tim felt that his time at School helped with confidence and gaining aspirations. He says: Most people I know from School are well-grounded, optimistic, pragmatic and kind.

Most seem to appreciate what they have and what opportunities have been given to them. I think this helps to be more personable and realistic, making it easier to work with all kinds of different people, under different pressures in all sorts of situations. We asked him if he had any special or specific memories that have stuck with him during his time at Truro School?

It is hard to pick out specific times; but I remember destroying our school shoes playing a lot of football during morning and lunch break on the ‘hard courts’ (now the car park by the Sir Ben Ainslie Centre). I remember Mr Whitmore demonstrating ‘how not to pass the ball’ during a training session – it involved him striking the ball as hard as he could, which hit me straight in the nose. I remember Dr Spring pulling me through history with a good grade, because no-one wanted to get caught out when he asked his customary history question at parents evening. I remember spending many hours in the DT workshop planing wood, drilling holes and hitting metal at the anvil. I remember spending too many rainy weekends on Dartmoor training for Ten Tors and D of E, or running through Cornish woodlands with Mr Moncaster in the orienteering club.

Tim now plans to continue enjoying working and living in Cornwall. The marine industry is growing, and this is something Tim is “excited to be a part of”.