Henry Bortey Otchwemah, MSc Environmental Management
Henry graduated in 2016 with an MSc Environmental Management and is now working as a Consultant in Environment, Climate Change and Development for the Institute of Green Growth Solutions (IGGS), as well as participating in a project called Fruitprint at Catalyst Learning Limited as a Forestry and Life Cycle Assessment manager.
Henry was first attracted to the University of Reading as a result of interactions with Ghanaian Alumni and friends living in Reading, but was particularly interested in pursuing his studies due to the topics covered in the course.
“The comprehensiveness of the curriculum mainly in terms of its applicability in the African context is remarkable, especially since there are modules dedicated to various geographical locations, for instance the module 'Agriculture in the Tropics'.”
The combination of modules, flexibility of teaching times and frequent opportunities for field trips and field work helped Henry to develop holistically and ensured he was able to perform at his best, as a student and a graduate.
Support and development
Henry participated in the support offered by the University and the department, including career counselling sessions, professional writing training, and professional communication skills development. The department helped him to develop techniques for interpersonal relations, report writing and creation and delivery of quality presentations, skills which he now uses in his work as a consultant.
“I participated in all fieldwork opportunities during my course in Reading. I vividly remember my visit to the Chineham Energy Recovery Facility where I experienced for the first time how waste was converted to energy for public consumption; a great green innovation I hope to contribute to setting up in Ghana in future. I also paid a visit to the Chobham Common Nature Reserve, school dairy farm and other adjoining natural sites to ascertain how ecosystem services worked in practice. Currently, I am developing a proposal for an ecosystem restoration livelihood improvement project with some key inputs from my experience two years ago at the University of Reading!”
Learning with experts
The range of expertise of lecturers from the Department of Geography and Environmental Science in relation to their academic-industry background and balance within and beyond the UK is evident and laudable.
“Professor Chukwumerije Okereke (my personal tutor and dissertation supervisor) greatly influenced my thought process as a youngster in the field. His firm but objective and needful criticisms, contributions and pep talks enlightened me on gaps to look out for in the industry and how critical sustainable human capital development has become for global environmental management. This was further inspired by lecture content of the Energy, Climate Change and Development module with Dr. Nicholas Bardsley.”
Looking to the future
“At IGGS, my role comprehensively looks at undertaking research and providing other forms of relevant support for programmes/projects/initiatives under: environmental management, climate change adaptation and mitigation, development (gender, policy/strategy improvement or formulation, advocacy/dialogue), food security and nutrition, sustainability/sustainability transitions, and project evaluation.
At Fruitprint, I am generally responsible for planning and policy formulation to ensure the establishment and maintenance of forests grown by schools signed up to the FruitPrint project, as well as liaising with sector relevant stakeholders to incorporate Climate Change Education into the curriculum for participating schools.”