CLASS OF 2017: Energy well spent as Julia earns distinction from DMU

A bold decision to study Energy and Sustainable Development MSc at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has given 56-year-old Julia Powell a welcome chance to change careers.


Graduating with a distinction last week, Julia spent most of her working life in IT as a project manager, business analyst, and for 10 years, managing a large development team.

When the company she worked for relocated the IT department from Birmingham to London, Julia decided to take voluntary redundancy and retrain in a field she has always been passionate about.

She said: “I decided to look at this as an opportunity rather than an ending.

“Having originally graduated with a degree in Science of Resources in 1991, it was an area I was really keen to revisit.”

It proved to be a smart move by Julia who is now working at DMU’s Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD) on a project in partnership with a local housing association.

Her role involves helping them to provide more efficient and sustainable homes with lower energy bills, utilising the knowledge and skills she gained on her master’s.

She is also benefitting from working closely with DMU’s leading experts in the field.

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“I’ve always had a particular interest in domestic energy efficiency, so this role has been perfect for me,” said Julia.

“Although it’s only a seven month contract, it feels good to be putting my MSc to immediate use and I’m finding that most of what I’ve learned is relevant and applicable.

“I’m gaining valuable experience and making good contacts so I’m keeping an open mind when it comes to future opportunities.”

The MSc offers a distance learning option, but Julia chose to commute in from Birmingham, saying: “The course is very well organised with all lectures scheduled into two days a week.

“I chose to study over two years, attending one day a week, which made my life a lot easier and enabled me to continue working part-time.

“It’s so much better when you can interact directly with lecturers and fellow students.

“There were lots of useful group exercises and having overseas students on the course gave me a good insight into how things are done in other parts of the world.”

Getting a distinction doesn’t come easy as dedicated Julia discovered: “I underestimated how much hard work it would be.

“I think I made it harder for myself than it needed to be, but once I got interested in a subject I just couldn’t help reading and researching around it.”

Posted on Wednesday 1st February 2017

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