Allan Walker – BEng (Hons) Civil and Coastal Engineering graduate

Year of graduation: 1997

Current employer: Macquarie University

Current job title: Commercial Manager

Current location: Sydney, Australia

“The skills learned on the BEng (Hons) Civil and Coastal Engineering course are transferable to any part of the world. It opened a huge door for me.”
Tell us what you have been doing since completing your studies.

I worked for a couple of years for Halcrow Consulting Engineers in Exeter, Land Surveying, and then a role came up in my home town (Taunton) as a Graduate Quantity Surveyor with a local contractor, Midas Construction. There was some synergy with the modules I had taken during my undergraduate degree, which I believe went in my favour.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

By far it has been moving overseas to Australia and being exposed to projects on a scale which I’m not sure I would have ever been at home.

Imagine you were about to start university again - with the benefit of hindsight - what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

I think the big question before going to university is, ‘should I study a vocational qualification with a pre-determined career route thereafter (Engineer, Accountant, etc.) or should I study a more generic arts or business qualification?’ I went for the vocational route and have no regrets. It was challenging, rewarding, and fun and I met some great people and had amazing experiences academically and socially. With the benefit of hindsight, I wouldn’t advise my former self to change very much… maybe start the dissertation as early as possible in my final year!

What was your main reason for choosing to study your course at Plymouth? With hindsight how significant was this for you?

I liked the combination of civil and coastal engineering with the added diving and HSE Part IV qualifications on offer. It seemed pretty unique when comparing it to similar courses offered at other universities. Also, I knew Plymouth and love the West Country.

How did we support you in your studies? If you used any support services whilst at the university how did they enable you to get to where you are today?

I was pretty self-sufficient, so just utilised the usual resources: mainly the library, which was well run and efficient.

How did studying at Plymouth change your career aspirations and plans?

My uncle was a Civil Engineer in South Africa and I quickly realised that the skills learned on the BEng (Hons) Civil and Coastal Engineering course are transferable to any part of the world. It opened a huge door for me.

What is your favourite memory of studying for your degree at Plymouth?

I have to say (and it’s probably the same for many others) that it was the friends I made and the first real steps into adulthood that university affords those lucky enough to attend.

How well did Plymouth prepare you for the challenges that you have faced, or will face, in your career?

The BEng (Hons) Civil and Coastal Engineering degree was a very demanding course with challenging content and deadlines as well as a very full lecture schedule. The competing deadlines and time management skills have set me up perfectly for my current role.

Why would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University?

Plymouth University is uniquely placed within a large vibrant city on the South West coast of England, surrounded by fantastic, almost Brontë-esque countryside. Where better to study?