Graham Knott, Project Engineer

Working as a non-graduate land surveyor in the New Forest in my 20s, I couldn’t help but notice that, all too often, I was training graduates who would eventually out-rank me. It was time for action and I made the decision to study to be a Civil Engineer at Plymouth. After an exciting and fulfilling few years, the reward was a 1st class MEng (Hons) in Civil and Coastal Engineering. The bonus was the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers’ Eddystone Lighthouse 250th Anniversary Commemorative Medal, plus the Head of School and ICE awards.

After starting the BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering and Computer Aided Design course, I switched to BSc (Hons) Civil and Coastal Engineering, not least because of my love of the sea. Aiming for chartership meant a transfer to BEng (Hons) and then on to MEng (Hons).  

During holidays and spare time I was fortunate to gain work experience at Jubb Consulting Engineers and then at Hyder Consulting, both in Plymouth. Hyder Consulting were to become my full-time employers on graduation. I would recommend work placements there to anyone who has the chance, as they are a great opportunity to see how it all works, build a CV and win a job.    

When I started at Hyder Consulting, my manager told me that Plymouth graduates are really hard working and do well. This, apart from applying pressure, made me proud to graduate from a university which is well respected in industry and has a reputation for producing graduates who hit the ground running!  For anyone receiving a mid A’ level report along the lines “there is little hope for this layabout” there really is a rewarding future, if you can find a goal in life you want enough.

A fun part of the degree was the HSE Commercial SCUBA qualification, a useful addition to the CV, particularly when working in Coastal Engineering. Getting into ‘stroke’ position in the first four on the PU rowing team was another achievement. I helped start up the Civil Engineering Society, building relations with companies and institutions. On graduating I joined the ICE Plymouth Club Committee and from there, founding Chair of the ICE Plymouth Graduates' and Students' Committee, organising events in and around Plymouth. 

I enjoyed everything about my time at Plymouth University: the course, the lecturers, the friends, the city, the Moor, the beaches, surfing, rock climbing, rowing, diving, swimming, student houses, all-night study sessions, pubs and the satisfaction of achieving something significant and knowing I can make a difference in society. We love the area so much that my wife Cheryl and our boys Henry and Joseph and I decided to settle down there. A couple of years post-graduation we moved to Poole so the boys could spend more time with our families and I am settling in as a Project Engineer at Godsell Arnold Partnership, a civil and structural consultancy, working towards chartership and enjoying the rewards from time well spent at university.