As a nation we’re always talking about the weather but have you ever thought about a weather related career? It could be looking at climate change, forest research, or environmental disasters, such as flooding or earthquakes.

We talked to a few people who have gone down a variety of routes to get into these kind of careers.

A degree in Geography

Owain Sheppard is now a Hydrologist but didn’t really know what he wanted to do at school. “I generally chose subjects in terms of GCSE’s and A levels, that I felt I was strongest in, and those that I enjoyed the most. I undertook 3 A levels in physics, geography, and chemistry. On the back of those then, I decided to undertake a degree in geography which a lot of people say is a degree for people that don’t know what they want to do!

“Now, I’m a Hydrologist and I work for the Environment Agency. My duties are to analyse, assess, forecast, and report on the water environment. The work that I do feeds in and underpins a lot of the work the Environment Agency does. A lot of the analysis that I’ll undertake will be of rainfall data and river flow data, looking at the flood risk side of things to protecting environment in low flows. All the work that we do does have an element of leading to some good environmental outcomes.”

Environmental Engineering

After studying a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nariba Gittens, became a graduate water engineer. “I hadn’t really thought of civil engineering before but when I was at school a civil engineer came to talk to us and it was just really interesting. I now work in water management, in water drainage – flooding, water quality issues. I mainly do assessments before construction when you have design, in the areas of flood risk management and flood defences.”

An interest in biology

Andrea Kiewitt, is an environmental scientist for Forest Research which is the Research Department of the Forestry Commission. “I spend quite a lot of time out in the field measuring tree seedlings or assessing the vegetation that comes up, so I’m quite good at looking at plants in the woodlands and saying, “˜this is that species and we’ve got so much of that species and that changes by so much over time’. My work involves as a scientist doing experiments to answer questions and eventually with the results from our experiments to help our foresters and also the private forestry sector to do better forestry.

“When I was at school, I took the equivalent of biology A-levels and I think I always had in my mind I always wanted to become a biologist. I wasn’t quite sure where it would take me but I think I was always interested in looking at nature and observing things and questioning things.”

A route in through volunteering

Manna Wan, Environment Officer at the Environment Agency, found her environmental career path through volunteering. “I did a lot of voluntary work abroad and I sort of volunteered myself on expeditions, so I turtle tagged, I caught golden tree frogs, I caught bats abroad in Trinidad and Cyprus and it’s really exotic and exciting. But I ended up doing environmental health at university and from there I joined the Environment Agency.”

For some more ideas take a look at our environment theme.


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