Devinder Matharu, MA Conservation of the Historic Environment, graduate talks to us about her experience at Birmingham City University and how her career has progressed since graduation.
Why did you choose to study Conservation of the Historic Environment MA?
I’ve always had a passion for heritage and architecture and having worked with listed buildings and development in conservation areas for a number of years, I finally decided I wanted a long-term career in the heritage sector. I enrolled onto the course to take me onto the next step of my heritage career.
What attracted you to this course at BCU and how has it helped prepare you for your career?
A number of colleagues and friends who had previously completed the course recommended it to me. The fact that the course was available in Birmingham was a bonus, as it meant I did not have to travel far.
By enrolling onto the course, my place of work has given me a secondment opportunity as a full-time Conservation Officer at Walsall MBC.
What elements of the course did you most enjoy? What were the highlights of your time at BCU?
I thoroughly enjoyed all the theory work; it provided good groundwork of the subject area. I looked forward to the practical workshops to gain first-hand experience of working with materials.
How do you feel about the support that was available during your course from the university and your tutors?
The level of support from the course tutor was fantastic; it was very easy to discuss projects or ask questions in person, over email and through Microsoft Teams. Guidance on projects was always available. The tutor made sure everyone understood all elements of the course and explained things completely.
Can you tell us about how your career has progressed since graduation and what you do now?
I have a clear understanding of the conservation of the historic environment and I am able to put into practice what I have learnt on the course. I am a full-time conservation officer at Walsall MBC, the knowledge and skills I have gained are put into practice on a daily basis.
I’m currently working on a number of projects including Willenhall masterplan, the public realm project in Walsall Town Centre, and the heritage strategy for the Borough. I review conservation areas and review possible additions to our local list of buildings. Our authority along with other Black Country authorities were successful in securing a funding bid to undertake this work.
What advice would you give to a student looking to pursue a career like yours?
I would definitely recommend the course itself and a career in the heritage sector. It is hard work, but it’s so rewarding and I haven’t looked back. I have thoroughly enjoyed my heritage learning experience, it’s the best thing I have done!
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