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Paul C Maliphant

Paul C Maliphant

Now, more than ever, there is a need for professionals who can develop ways to reduce environmental impacts and Green House Gas emissions, whilst enhancing social outcomes in response to the global challenges we face, and the aims of key legislation.

After completing my undergraduate studies at Edinburgh, and subsequently Bristol University, I gained a 2:1 in Geology in 1985 and took up a post as an Opencast Management Trainee with the National Coal Board, later renamed British Coal.

Changing direction

Following training, I worked as a Geologist and Geotechnical Engineer and gained my Chartership from the Geological Society of London but became increasingly aware of the environmental problems of coal and the decline of the industry in the UK. With a young family in tow, I decided that staying in mining and travelling the world was not what I desired, and instead I chose to refocus my career in the field of Civil Engineering. To support this ambition, I raised my personal profile by forming the Southern Wales regional group of the Geological Society and started my master's degree at Cardiff University in 1992.

Early career

On being made redundant at the end of year one, I joined a Local Authority, which provided considerable technical opportunities across a number of subsectors including highways, buildings, land reclamation and mineral planning. Having passed my exams, I gained permission to use the data I had collected at work to complete my dissertation on optimising of the route of the A470(T) to M4 Capel Llaniltern Relief Road and gained an overall Distinction in my master’s degree. This scheme was subsequently revised and updated to become the Church Village Bypass which opened in 2010, and my dissertation created significant opportunities as I moved into private consultancy primarily with Halcrow (now part of Jacobs) and Mott MacDonald.

Thoughts on the course

Over the last 20 years I have continued to support the Applied Environmental Geology course as an occasional lecturer; creating opportunities for enhancing the training by linking students with seminars, conferences and lectures organised by the Geological Society; and offering dissertation placements and subsequent career opportunities to some excellent early career professionals.

The combination of taught modules and industrial placements helps students develop their technical competencies whilst also enhancing their understanding of the sectors that will become the focus of their future careers. This variety of experience prepares students well to start their careers and add value to the businesses they work for, and the lives of the people and communities that the projects they help deliver impact upon.

I recommend the Applied Environmental Geology (MSc) at Cardiff University to future students.