Picture of Karen Ridgewell

Karen Ridgewell

2018 CAT Graduate

Karen graduated in 2018 after taking the majority of her modules via distance learning. She is now a Senior Design Officer in the Climate Change team at Architecture & Design Scotland.

Karen studied on our MSc in Sustainability and Adaptation Planning taking the majority of her modules via distance learning. She graduated in 2018 and is now a Senior Design Officer in the Climate Change team at Architecture & Design Scotland. She is also a board member of Creative Carbon Scotland.

Taking the course via distance learning this offered Karen the flexibility and the ability to maintain a healthy balance between study, work and caring for my young family. Having previously worked at Sustrans Scotland the course also allowed her to apply previous knowledge and experience to an in-depth subject matter that would benefit my own working practice, current and future employers.

She joined A&DS in June 2019 as a Senior Design Officer and has been contributing to a new pilot project called ‘Place Planning for Decarbonisation’ supporting the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackle Climate Change and achieve the target of Net-Zero Carbon Emissions by 2045.

With numerous local authorities declaring a Climate Emergency, A&DS are aiding, through facilitation, to translate that driving force into tangible place plans, an approach they believe is unique, but one they wish to encourage others to adopt, and at pace. In a short space of time, they’ve successfully contributed to the discussion to prioritise climate change within the planning system through engagement with the Heads of Planning and throughout the extensive network of which A&DS is connected. Hopefully, the pilot project findings can be used as a precedent to demonstrate the successes and challenges identified by each of the project partners, offering timely peer to peer support to local authorities and community groups across Scotland.

“I believe my CAT studies and qualification led to my successful appointment at Sustrans, A&DS and to the Board of Creative Carbon Scotland. The experience gained at CAT offered me an opportunity to enhance my existing qualifications and experience, to challenge the impact of my profession and work towards inciting positive change by utilising my multi-disciplinary knowledge and perspective. It has created employment and volunteering opportunities that I do not believe were previously available to me.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at CAT over the last 4 years, my peers and the staff made me feel welcome and appreciated. Their open mind sets have encouraged us to questions and challenge and to work together towards solutions that can positively impact ourselves, our families, our communities, our workplaces and the environment. I would recommend visiting or studying at CAT to anyone.”