Allan Walker: combining civil and coastal engineering

Allan Walker graduated from BEng (Hons) Civil and Coastal Engineering in 1997. He now works as a Commercial Manager for Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

This is Allan's story


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. 

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. 

The 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?

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. It was rewarding and fun. I met some great people and had amazing experiences academically and socially. 

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

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.

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. The competing deadlines and time management skills have set me up perfectly for my current role.

By far the best thing I have done in my career 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.


Follow in Allan's footsteps

Do you want to tackle major global issues like defence against coastal flooding during climate change? Do you want to design the offshore structures necessary to maintain security of energy supply? You will understand how these structures are protected from erosion and will apply engineering and design principles to create experimental systems such as marine renewable energy devices, that you will test in the coastal and ocean basins and wave flumes located in our £19 million Marine Building.


Study BEng (Hons) Civil and Coastal Engineering