Dan Johnston

Dan graduated from Environmental Impact Assessment and Management in 2006 and now works as a Senior Consultant for Jacobs.

On choosing my master's course

Of the options available, the Environmental Impact Assessment and Management course seemed ideally suited to my needs reconversion from a topic specialist to an EIA professional. It also offered the opportunity to study part-time while continuing in my job.

On my career

Dan Johnston

EIA as a career option did not exist at the start of my career - I never heard the term until my 30s. I started in EIA as a heritage specialist. Joining the course was the direct result of a decision to convert to become an EIA professional. Previously, I worked 9 years as a field archaeologist, then 11 as a historic environment consultant, before converting to an EIA professional, where I’ve now worked for 17 years.

I was supported in my studies by my existing employer and was able to switch roles within the company while undertaking the course so that I was coordinating real EIA projects at work while studying EIA at university. Graduation from the course was followed by immediate promotion and greater responsibility for larger projects. I am now responsible for EIA coordination, technical leadership and mentoring in EIA and presently working full-time on the Anglian Water Strategic Pipeline Alliance.

On my learning

My immediate impression on joining the course was that despite having previous EIA experience, I had been blissfully unaware of the depth of my own ignorance. I was launched on a very steep learning curve on EIA and on all the other specialist topics outside archaeology. I’m still learning and hope it continues up to and beyond retirement.

My advice for prospective students

Real-world work experience beforehand is invaluable – if possible do a year in the industry during your first degree or a year between first and second degree. Some employers offer such opportunities. That experience will help in your studies, and will help you in the job market afterwards.