Degree/university: BSc Physical Geography from Royal Holloway. He also completed a foundation degree in river and coastal engineering with the Environment Agency.
Year of graduation: 2003
Occupation: Technical Support Team Member for the Environment Agency
What do you do in your job?
In our role we look after the maintenance of the River Thames’ assets, which includes locks and weirs. We also take on construction projects which can be one-offs. The projects can be outside the River Thames, for example we worked on the River Lambourn in Newbury installing a sluice channel as part of a river restoration project, creating more natural water courses. There are so many elements to the job: we look after locks, sluice gates, lock houses, and all weirs.
What was your motivation in applying?
I wanted to work on rivers: during my degree I enjoyed learning about how rivers work, how they function and are managed. I have now moved into the operations department and I am really happy where I am.
What did the application process involve?
It was quite a long one. To get onto the foundation degree you had to answer a number of questions and then fill in an application form. Next you were invited to an assessment centre where you took a couple of numeracy tests, did some team building exercises, and then had an interview. There was another interview for short-listed candidates. You were then informed whether you had got onto the course.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I think it’s the day to day difference. You can be all over the place managing a project. I was recently involved with building a bridge. You can also be down the lock-side dealing with day to day problems such as sorting out roof tiles. The environmental side to the work is a nice thing.
Most challenging part of your job?
Dealing with the unforeseen events that crop up as part of looking after the Thames. For example, recently a boat got stuck on some sediment build-up in the river which we had to deal with. Also, we often have to provide an emergency response so we have to have people in place to deliver solutions.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field:
You have to do a job you enjoy. Consider what you enjoy doing and try to appreciate what skills are required and focus on that during your study time. Try to have an idea of what you want before you go out and get it.