Kay Walker - College of Life and Natural Sciences - University of Derby

Kay Walker, MSc Environmental Management and Pollution Control, 2002

What are you doing now?

I am currently a Senior Environmental Manager for Atkins, a multi-disciplinary consultancy, with offices in Derby. Since graduating from Derby with a Master’s in 2002 I have worked for two large consultancy firms and undertaken a wide range of environmental assessment on a variety of schemes. 

In 15 years working within environmental consultancy I have developed skills in Environmental Appraisal, Sustainability Appraisal and Environmental Impact Assessment. Clients include Severn Trent, Network Rail, Environment Agency, Derby City Council and Ministry of Justice. Broad project experience including housing schemes, industrial processes, flood defences, road and rail schemes.

I started my career as an environmental scientist undertaking site visits, baseline data assessment and undertaking public consultation gaining practical experience working in the area of environmental assessment and co-ordination. I moved to Atkins and developed a broader client base and project experience. This built up my transferable skills, such as consultation, team management and report writing, which I now use to work on large scale environmental assessments.

What were the main reasons you took that course? 

I decided to undertake a Master’s degree straight after finishing a BSc, as I felt it would give me additional skills and a deeper understanding of the subject, so that I had more to offer potential employers.

Why did you choose to study the course at the University of Derby?

After spending four years studying for a BSc I was keen to start a job, however I wanted to gain an MSc to improve my employability, therefore the fact that the MSc course could be completed in a year at Derby was attractive; as it meant that I could achieve the qualification in a short space of time.

The course being accredited by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, was a huge attraction to me. I felt that this would be a benefit to potential employers giving me an edge in job applications.

What impact has studying this course at Derby had on your career?

Institute membership combined with the MSc qualification has been the foundation for my career so far.  I am now a full member of the institute working towards Chartership (CEnv). I feel that I would not have been able to do this at this point in my career if the MSc had not been accredited.

Derby is well placed with a large number of potential employers within the city and the region as a whole, it was the right place for me as it offered me job opportunities after graduation and career prospects as my experience developed.

How did the lecturers inspire you?

The lecturers had lots of practical ‘real’ world experience, which gave me the confidence once I secured a job I would be able to draw on the information they had given me on the course. They were very enthusiastic about the subject and made me increasingly interested in working in the field.

Derby is well placed with a large number of potential employers within the city and the region as a whole, it was the right place for me as it offered me job opportunities after graduation and career prospects as my experience developed.

How do you feel the University has helped you in your career so far?

I was fortunate to get a job within a month of graduating, however if that had not been the case I know that the University has great support structures for students.  So I feel confident that I would have received support if I needed it. I am now interested in assisting current students on the University’s mentoring scheme, so hope to share my experiences and lessons learnt.

What are your future plans?

Gaining Chartered Environmentalist status is my next goal. I am also keen to develop a mentoring role within my work place and other organisations. I will continue with my Professional Development and look to manage larger schemes for my employer.

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to study this course at the University of Derby?

The course is a great way to gain skills that are needed in the workplace and helps with the transition from study to practical application. Derby is a modern, enthusiastic university where there is lots of support to achieve your goals.

Who are you still in touch with from University of Derby?

I have recently contacted the employer liaison team to help me develop my mentoring role.

"Derby is a modern, enthusiastic university where there is lots of support to achieve your goals." Kay Walker