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Heritage, conservation and adaptation alumna tells her story

Joanne McKay, is working in her dream role as a Heritage and Conservation Assistant at Growth Lancashire, after graduating with a master's in Building Conservation and Adaptation.

With an interest in the built environment, Joanne McKay chose to study BA (Hons) Heritage Management at the University of Central Lancashire. After finishing her undergraduate studies, Joanne gained years of experience working for a local authority and she worked in the service management area. Joanne also trained and worked in site carpentry. This provided her with a raft of built environment experience.

With a desire to pursue a career in the historic built environment, Joanne returned to UCLan and studied a master’s in Building Conservation and Adaptation. Joanne was motivated to come back to study when a UCLan tutor took the time to talk to her and encouraged her to return.

During her postgraduate studies at University, Joanne met a regular guest lecturer who is the Lead for Specialist Services at Growth Lancashire. Through this link, Joanne was able to secure a temporary post as a Heritage Associate at Growth Lancashire, which helped her gain valuable experience in the field.

Joanne McKay, BA (Hons) and MSc graduate
Joanne McKay, BA (Hons) and MSc graduate

"Without my experience at UCLan, I do not think I would have secured the job I have. I have wanted to work in this type of career for over 25 years, and I finally achieved it."

Joanne McKay, BA (Hons) and MSc graduate

After graduation, Joanne was successful in securing a full-time position working at Growth Lancashire as a Heritage and Conservation Assistant. As part of her role, Joanne supports the Lead for Specialist Services with a range of heritage related work as well as development management work, which includes the assessment of planning applications for a range of local planning authorities. Joanne also works on project management and development of the Lancashire Local Heritage List Project, the review of conservation areas and private work, such as preparing heritage statements.

Reflecting on how her experience at UCLan has impacted her current employment, Joanne said: “Without my experience at UCLan, I do not think I would have secured the job I have. I have wanted to work in this type of career for over 25 years, and I finally achieved it.”

When asked about what advice she would give to those wanting to do something similar, Joanne said: “Keep learning, network, and put yourself forward for work experience as this really leads to securing work in this interesting field.”