Richard Kok (Malaysia)
Project Engineer, Water Treatment Facilities
Origin Energy, Australia
Master of Integrated Water Management
Originally from Malaysia, Richard had a Bachelor of Science (Mechanical Engineering) and worked in the manufacturing industry for over 10 years. In 2010 he decided to enrol in the MIWM full-time program to facilitate a career change to the water industry.
The water industry provides plenty of challenging opportunities and I took a leap of faith to reinvent my career through the MIWM program.
When I first started the program, I was filled with anxiety and apprehension because I had no idea where the course would bring me. Throughout the program, I met various individuals from different countries around the world. I discovered that a few of them also do not have any working experience in the water industry. Throughout the 1.5 years, we have become a "family". This network that we have created spreads all around the world.
The MIWM course is structured in such a way that you gain the basic knowledge of water chemistry and gradually progresses to addressing the current issues of water management. The Problem Based Learning topics and assignments were topical and carefully selected to challenge the minds of the students.
It provides so much more compared to any postgraduate water engineering program because it encourages students to dissect issues not only from the technical aspects. Students are constantly reminded to take a step back and evaluate problems from other perspectives such as social, political, environmental and economic perspectives. Behavioural changes for future water leaders are moulded to evaluate sustainable solutions for complex water problems throughout the program.
I have always been interested in the technical aspect of water engineering. Through the guidance of industry experts such as Prof. Paul Lant and Dr. Steven Pratt, I utilised the program's personal development funds to enrol in external wastewater training courses.
In my final semester, I completed a three-month internship with the local water supply and sewerage provider Queensland Urban Utilities. I gained a lot of exposure in terms of wastewater treatment and management and eventually did my final project on integrated biosolids (sludge) management.
The contacts and networks that IWC (including those from CEO Mark Pascoe) provided me proved to be very useful in my job search. Within a month of graduation, I was fortunate to receive a job offer from Origin Energy to work as a Water Engineer responsible for setting up their new coal seam gas water treatment facilities for the Asia Pacific LNG Project.