My name is James H and I’m an environment officer with the environment agency. My day to day job involves really sort of protection of the environment. It’s a regulatory position so I may go out, particularly I work in Land or Water team so I ultimately look at water river basins, water courses to ensure I deal with issues related to pollution, water quality I may also deal with businesses and members of the public generally and try and engage with them to help them comply with the relevant sort of environmental protection legislation.
My career started within citizen’s advice bureau, so I worked as a case worker so I did a lot of legal work. I then moved on to trading standards after that, carried out a lot of enforcement work within trading standards, dealing with a lot of businesses and members of the public. Following on from that I worked in part of the Ministry of Justice, within part for the regulatory unit within that section and then which moved on to the environment agency after that.
I have a degree in physical geography, I’ve also did it at A Level as well. I’ve got a reasonable appreciation of the outdoors, I do a lot of outdoor activities, a lot of mountain biking and running so I appreciate that and it’s nice to be able to work in that kind of environment as well. I wasn’t quite sure at school what I wanted to do to be honest. I looked around and tried a number of things. I found the sort of regulatory root fairly interesting, a natural progression down that route. I ultimately ended up with the environment agency because it was the scientific aspect as well, mixed in with the regulatory angle. I enjoy law so it’s got that mix as well. Neither of my parents went to university. It wasn’t assumed that I’d go to University, to be honest it was left entirely open to myself and it was driven by myself so it wasn’t something that was pre planned or envisaged, it’s just somewhere where again I just went with how I felt and that’s where I ended up.
My father use to own a garage a filling station, but he sold that and retired and my mother worked for social services. I have a number of areas in mind where I’d like to end up, I think one of the great attractions to the environment agency was the size of the organisation and the ability and the opportunities to move around in that organisation and develop those further skills and attracted me to the agency specifically. In the future I definitely have an interest in law from an environmental angle, it interests me greatly and those sort of principles the permitting angles of things, it’s a natural attraction to me and things that I quite enjoy.
I’m an environment officer so you can go into a senior or technical level. You have water quality specialists, you have water resources team and specialists, you also have agricultural specialists all interlink into the water and environment and help and support an environment officer like me to be able to do their job and deliver what they need to do.
I wouldn’t necessary say that I have regrets doing my degree because I gained a lot out of doing that job not educationally but personally as well; however I do also believe that you can equally achieve the same results through that process through apprenticeships and things like that. I’ve definitely got friends that have and you know it’s really I think it’s more about the person that the actual qualification sometimes. I think you need to get out there, don’t wait for it to come to you, get out there do your research, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and phone either your local environment agency office or a similar organisation and ask them, see if you can go and visit, see if you can do work experience, look at their website look at the information that’s out there, speak to as many people as you can and do your research because it’s never going to come to you, you need to go out and get it to be able to understand what you really want.
If you’re looking for financial award, sometimes you know there are obviously more attractive options, however you look at the work that you do and the achievements and the impact you have on the local environment and the communities and it can easily make up for that