Career profiles of the University of Plymouth’s
Masters students - Civil & Coastal Engineering
TELEPHONE +44(0)1752 586000
EMAIL [email protected]
Ben Harries
MSc Civil & Structural Engineering
Graduate Structural Engineer
Hyder Consulting
I joined the University of Plymouth
to study an HND in Civil Engineering
and left five years later with a BEng in
Civil Engineering and an MSc in Civil
and Structural Engineering. I chose
Plymouth because I was looking
for a complete change and it had
a lot to offer: excellent facilities for
experiments and investigations and
everything a student needs within
walking distance, with Dartmoor
and the many amazing beaches and
countryside nearby.
After my MSc I joined Hyder Consulting as a Graduate Structural Engineer. My job involves
almost all aspects of engineering, from running small projects to designing steel frame
buildings and designing concrete civil works for the water team. I have worked as the project
structural engineer for three buildings for Cornwall College as well as on the renovation of the
Atlantic Club at the St Mawgan Airbase in Cornwall. This involved carrying out an investigation
into the stability of the existing structure and redesigning the internal structures to allow for a
new open plan building.
For my year’s site experience I was seconded to Cowlin Construction to work on the £31 million
James Square Development at the University of Plymouth. This incorporates the construction
of a six storey concrete academic building, an eight storey precast residential building and the
refurbishment of an existing eleven storey building. I worked in various roles as Site Engineer,
Quantity Surveyor, Finishing Foreman and Design Coordinator in order to gain valuable
experience in areas such as buildability, quality and value.
The MSc allowed me to concentrate within a particular area and delve deeper into aspects
of engineering. It also gave me a greater understanding of the more technical aspects which
has allowed me to work on parts of a project I wouldn’t normally be able to work on until later
in my career.
“My MSc has meant I get to work
on parts of a project I wouldn’t
normally be able to work on until
later in my career”
More profiles inside, including:
From airports to high rise luxury
Flood defences
Award winner
Big dreams
Mike Taylor and his multi-million
pound Gibraltar projects
Siu Fa Ng helping to
safeguard millions of lives
Adam Leonard-Williams at the
forefront of ocean modelling
Fotini Ntousikou securing
her future in Greece
Page 2
Page 3
Page 3
Page 4
Project looking at the temperatures
and surface currents in the Gulf of
Mexico and the Gulf Stream
Mike Taylor
Adam Leonard-Williams
MSc Construction Management
MSc Flood Risk
Quantity Surveyor
Product and Service Scientist
Daniel Barton Surveyors, Gibraltar
National Centre of Ocean Forecasting, Met Office
I already had a degree in Oceanography but I was keen to learn new skills and
gain experience in flood risk and coastal engineering with a view to moving
into a career in a new area with employers such as the Environment Agency or
engineering consultants. I chose the University of Plymouth because it offered a
unique course in a department with an excellent reputation. Additionally, there
was the chance of meeting potential employers in the South West.
As a Quantity Surveyor in Gibraltar I have been working on some very big
projects. They include the relocation of the RAF base at Gibraltar Airport and
construction of a new multi million pound Gibraltar International Airport Terminal
as well as a new ocean village comprising three high rise luxury waterfront
apartment blocks, townhouses, shops, restaurants, offices and casino built on
reclaimed land in Gibraltar’s Marina Bay.
Thanks to my MSc I am now working with the best oceanographic institutes in the
country and involved in the forefront of ocean modelling and forecasting. Additionally,
working at the Met Office means an exposure to the current science and research in
atmospheric sciences and climate change. This involves studying the temperature of
the sea surface in the Gulf of Mexico which can be used to monitor strong currents and
eddies which have a significant impact on engineering and hurricanes.
I feel the MSc prepared me well for my chosen career. It helped me improve my
organisational ability and to develop an awareness of the management of construction
projects and the issues which arise in modern construction. One major plus point
of the MSc is the fact that the topic of sustainable construction is well covered and
integrated into each module, looking at the management of construction projects from
the environmental point of view. I feel this will prove invaluable during my career as this
seems to be the future for the construction industry. I was also impressed by the fact
that the MSc was joint RICS/CIOB accredited.
“The topic of sustainable
construction is well covered
and integrated into each
My dissertation enabled me to do a project linked with the Hadley Centre, which is part
of the Met Office. It involved using sea level rise projections from the Hadley Centre to
model the extent of coastal flooding from extreme storm surges that would occur at
Herne Bay, Kent by the end of the 21st century. I think this helped a great deal as it
allowed me to get to know people within the department before applying for the job. I
also won the Faculty Medal for Outstanding Performance on the MSc course.
& I feel this
will prove is well covered and integrated
“The topic
of sustainable
my will
” invaluable during my career”
into each
module &during
I feel this
Bonita Rickard
BEng (Hons) Civil & Coastal Engineering
& MSc Coastal Engineering
Graduated 2006
Graduate Engineer, Hyder Consulting
After 16 years working as an Administrator I was looking for a career
change. After successfully completing the Foundation Pathways in
Technology course I was able to progress onto the BEng (Hons) Civil &
Coastal Engineering degree and then decided to continue my studies
on the MSc in Coastal Engineering in order to specialise within this
field. These degrees are widely respected within the engineering
community and this has allowed me to secure a good job as a coastal
Since graduating from the MSc in Coastal Engineering I have been working
in the Plymouth office of Hyder Consulting (with whom I spent my
undergraduate placement year) as a Graduate Engineer. My work has
included assisting with the project management of the design checks for
a tender submission for a port redevelopment in Scotland, proposals for
a hydro-electric power scheme - which has included the investigation of
alternative methods of excavating the bed material from an existing tidal
reservoir - and a study to determine the viability of a cross-Forth Passenger
ferry service, to relieve some of the congestion on the Forth Road Bridge.
“The BEng (Hons) Civil & Coastal Engineering degree at the University
of Plymouth is widely respected within the engineering community”
Escalator Chamber
“It is very rewarding to know that I am working towards protecting
millions of businesses, homes and lives”
Siu Fa Ng
MSc Flood Risk
Asset System Management
Environment Agency
I first became interested in managing flood risk while doing
my BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering degree at the University of
Plymouth. During the course I spent some time working as
a placement student at the Environment Agency. My work
included preparing flood risk and asset inspection reports on
the Grand Union Canal and surveying low spot areas in risk of
flooding around the Midlands. So, when I heard about the MSc
Flood Risk I thought it was the perfect opportunity to help me
Maryam Rafaty
MSc Civil Engineering Management
Assistant Civil Engineer, Scott Wilson
pursue a career in flood risk management, especially as the
course is accredited.
Since graduating a few months ago I have been working in an
Asset System Management team with the Environment Agency.
I am currently involved in improving and updating flood defence
information on the Environment Agency’s National Flood and
Coastal Defence Database. This information is used to decide
whether it is worth building a new flood defence or investing in
maintaining the current defences.
Flood risk is a hot topic, not only in the UK, but also worldwide due
to rising sea water levels and unpredictable global weather. Not
many people know that six inches of rapidly moving flood water
can easily knock a person down. It is very rewarding to know that
I am working towards protecting millions of businesses, homes
and lives.
Having completed a BSc in Civil Engineering in Iran I was eager to improve my managerial skills
and knowledge of civil engineering projects. I knew I would be able to enhance my technical skills
throughout my career while an MSc could help me to develop a holistic view of the construction
industry. The University of Plymouth offered just what I was looking for and my experience on the
course, and at the University, was very rewarding.
As a member of the structures team at Scott Wilson I am responsible for providing design calculation
for a variety of civil engineering projects (railway, infrastructure, residential buildings etc). Recently
I have been working on the London Underground, for example, renewing the structure of an escalator
chamber in one of the stations. I have also been working on signal post structures in the southwest
of the country for Network Rail.
I have long been keen to pursue a career in the railway industry, particularly bridges, and I love what
I do. The range of projects is really wide and every new project offers a lot of opportunities. I am
keen to develop my career further and specialise in project management.
Fotini Ntousikou
MSc Civil Engineering
Project Management, Greece
From the beginning of my Civil Engineering studies, my dream was to have my own company.
Thanks to my time at the University of Plymouth that dream is starting to become a reality.
During my foundation year in Greece I decided to continue my studies in the UK. I chose
Plymouth as it is recognised in Greece as one of the 10 best universities in the UK, especially
the Civil Engineering department.
My MSc project was an investigation into the fire protection of steel frame buildings. At the moment there
are only a few steel frame buildings in Greece as engineers there currently prefer concrete, but I think, as
the advantages of steel frames for multi-storey and office buildings become more widely known, this will
soon change. As there are only a few engineers in Greece who have studied the fire protection of steel
frames I feel my MSc will put me in great demand.
After my masters I returned to Greece and found a job in an architectural and construction company in
Athens. My work involves studies, computer programs, 3-D images models, detailed construction studies,
financial analysis and timetabling for various projects around Greece and the Greek Islands. I am also
visiting the construction sites for supervision, which is exciting and this is where I am learning the most.
“My projects include the study and construction of
many mansions and luxurious residences in Athens
and on the Greek Islands”
My projects have included the study and construction of a two storey office building with 5 basements for
parking and the study and construction of many mansions and luxurious residences including a two storey
mansion with basement, inside and outside swimming pools and a tennis court on the island of Corfu.
Apart from the work in the office, I have joined together with three friends - an architect, a civil engineer
and a mechanical engineer – to take over our own jobs and do our own studies in the hope of starting our
own company.
University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon, UK, PL4 8AA
FAX +44(0)1752 586003
Earthquake Engineering Module
Coastal Engineering Research
From 2008 the MSc Civil Engineering course offers Civil Engineers a new option to study the Design of Earthquake Resistant
Structures. Earthquake activity is a major consideration in the design of many structures around the world. Although we do not
experience severe earthquakes in the UK, Engineers are involved designing structures that resist earthquake loads for clients
around the world.
The Coastal Engineering Research Group (CERG) is a leading team of coastal engineering researchers here at the
University of Plymouth. CERG is focused firmly on major problems facing society regarding rising sea levels, flood risk
and offshore renewable energy which have been highlighted in recent Government reviews. These include a DEFRA
report estimating that 4 - 5 million people could be affected by flood and coastal erosion.
This module was designed based on requests and advice from practicing engineering firms and from members of our Civil
Engineering Industrial Advisory Committee.
This is a unique module covering practical aspects of Earthquake Engineering using Eurocode 8 requirements. Topics covered
include a general introduction to dynamics, earthquake responses, soil structure interaction, practical analytical analysis of real
structures using real earthquake data and design of structural elements to resist earthquake loads.