Maxine Prydderch – MSc Coastal Engineering graduate

Current employer: Amey

Current job title: Asset Management Engineer

Current location: Doha, Qatar

“The best part of my career has been the whole Qatar experience. I moved to a country which had a completely different culture and where I did not know anyone... It was a steep learning curve and I’m still learning.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I moved to Swindon and worked in the rail sector, doing structural assessments and civils design for two years. An opportunity came up to work in Qatar on highways and I went for it. Two and a half years later and I’m still here. I have worked on vast projects which wouldn’t have been possible in the UK.

How has your degree helped/influenced your career path?

It has helped my career path as it has made working in the Middle East easier. A lot of clients request certain qualifications and a masters is usually at the top of the list. Having a masters degree will also help me to become a chartered engineer which is important to me and my future career path.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

Definitely. I did my MSc in Coastal Engineering and I have worked in rail and roads infrastructure. Also, I never thought I’d work abroad. From living in Qatar I have learnt that I would actively seek out other international opportunities.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

The best part of my career has been the whole Qatar experience. I moved to a country which had a completely different culture and where I did not know anyone. When I moved, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into; but, I approached it with an open mind which was really the best thing I could do. It was a steep learning curve and I’m still learning.

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

My favourite project to date was Lusail City in Qatar. Lusail is a city built on virgin land that will eventually have a population of 260,000: it is the size of Southampton and worth £20.5 billion. It will also host the 2022 World Cup opening and closing ceremonies. Every time I go on site there I can see how it’s progressing and think, ‘this is what I signed up for.'

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

I wouldn’t do anything differently.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Don’t plan too much and let your career happen organically. I was made redundant, I then applied for a three month secondment to Qatar, and since then everything has worked out. I never expected these things to happen and they were challenging at the time, but they got me to where I am today.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Moving to Plymouth for my masters was a big decision. I was moving away from my old university, my friends, the city, and what I knew; but I made the right decision. It was refreshing to be in a different city, make new friends, and learn to do things in a different way. After studying for three years for my bachelors, I was wary about going straight into the MSc; however, everyone’s dedication was enlightening and reinvigorated my passion for learning.

What lessons/skills did you gain from your course?

Everyone took their studies seriously. Group work was quite a large chunk of my course (more than at my previous university) and I admired how everyone in the team really buckled down and even donned suits when presenting their work.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

Graduation day. It was a wonderful time to look at how far I’d come and reflect on all the trials and tribulations I faced with my peers. It was also a lovely day to share with my parents who had supported me both financially and mentally during my studies.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

Yes. The staff and facilities are professional and excel in their fields. Plymouth itself and its location are fantastic too. The Barbican and Hoe are stunning and there are plenty of things to see and do.