Fancy a career in flood risk management?

8th January 2015

Author: icould.com

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flooded road

Jonathan Kenyon is a flood and coastal risk management officer in West Yorkshire. He spoke to icould about his job and explained more about training opportunities with the Environment Agency.

What does your job involve?

My role is to help reduce flood risk to people and their livelihoods. One of the main ways we do this is by ensuring any new buildings or infrastructure won’t increase risk levels. We do this by visiting sites with developers and looking at design drawings and planning applications. We then make recommendations, such as the addition of raised floor levels or flood proof defences to reduce the risk of flooding and/or its potential affects.

What do you like most about your job?

I think the best thing about my job is the people. Working in flood risk management for the Environment Agency is a vocation, everyone wants to be here. We all enjoy our jobs and help each other. At the end of the day you feel like you have made a difference.

And what do you like least?

The biggest challenge in this role is the constant learning process, each request and application is different and is subject to a different set of circumstances and situations.

Why did you want to work in flood risk and how did you get started? 

I knew at school that I wanted be involved with physical geography. I had a fascination with the environment and its processes, particularly rivers and coasts and their defences. I was encouraged by my geography teacher to carry that passion through to sixth form where my interest in maths and physics helped to enhance my understanding. It was at this point my teacher pointed out the Environment Agency to me.

After A-Levels I went to university and studied civil and structural with coastal engineering. After university I was looking for a job in my field when I saw the advert for a flood risk management trainee with the Environment Agency. The role included training and support into a potential role for an organisation that dealt with flooding and the management of rivers and the sea. So naturally it ticked all the boxes I wanted, training, experience, pay and a chance for a job in an interesting and useful and growing field and a good organisation.

Any advice for others who want to work in water management?

If water management is something you have an interest in – go for it. It’s a role which I feel is only truly appreciated once you’ve tried it, and one that is actually useful. I would recommended applying for the training scheme like I did as it provides you with the toolbox knowledge you need and opens a door for you to get the experience. The more effort you put in, the more you will get out. It will be hard work but it will be worth it in the end.

Find out more

Want to get started? The Environment Agency is now recruiting trainees. Apply for its River and Coastal Engineering Foundation Degree which combines nine months at  the University of the West of England in Bristol, with up to 15 months of work-based training with either the Environment Agency or a local authority. There are no tuition fees to pay and you’ll receive an allowance of  £1000 a month during your work-based training.  The deadline for applications is 12 June 2015.

Watch video: Flood risk and coastal management advisor

Visit the Environment Agency.