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Hi! I’m Crystal and I studied Geography and Natural Hazard Management at the University of Chester (2015-2018).

In 2019, I was successful in securing a position with Ringway Jacobs as a Flood Risk Engineer to work within the Flood Risk Management team. My main role is to fulfil the important regulatory Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) duties for Cheshire East Council. This includes providing expert technical statutory advice to the Planning Authority and developers in matters relating to flood risk, SuDS drainage and other regulatory requirements of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and Land Drainage Act 1991. I also provide support to the team in helping with the emergency response to major incidents of flooding and helping members of the public who may be affected by such events. Post flooding, I also contribute to the formal Section 19 flood investigations. This requires co-ordination of efforts across a number of risk management authorities including Police, Fire, Ambulance, Environment Agency, United Utilities, Highways and Canal & River Trust. The role is very rewarding, as it enables me to make a difference in our communities and at a time when climate change poses ever-increasing challenges to our environment.

My time within the Geography and International Development (GID) Department was incredibly inspiring, as I was exposed to many aspects of physical and human geography and how they interrelate. This was due to the variety of modules available and the lecturers who all had diverse interests within Geography. There was no limit to what I could learn.

It was within my second year of studying where my passion for hazard management was first realised as I undertook the ‘Hazard Processes and Human Vulnerability’ module. This covered many geographical hazards, from floods to landslides. It involved excellent fieldwork to Edale Valley (Derbyshire) to study landslide processes and flood prone areas such as Kinmel Bay (North Wales) and Cockermouth (Cumbria). I particularly enjoyed the focus on hazard/risk perception and community resilience. This has helped me within my role as I have gained an understanding of how communities perceive the risk of flooding and how I can best advise them when dealing with the prospect of flooding.

Throughout my studies I was also exposed to advanced modern technologies such as ArcGIS, Lidar and Remote Sensing which made sure I had current and sought after skills, which have definitely helped me within my day to day work. For example, my GIS capabilities allow me to interpret mapping systems in order to help advise key stakeholders of fluvial and groundwater flooding risks, in turn helping to protect people and properties from future flood events.

Within my studies, there was a focus on working within a team in the classroom and during national and international fieldwork. This enabled me to develop my communication skills and team working capabilities which has enabled me to become a valued member of the Flood Risk Management team, where I work efficiently and collaboratively with my colleagues.

The Work Based Learning module within second year presented me with a fantastic opportunity to work within the Environment Agency where I gained valuable insights into their flood risk warning/emergency response services, Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDs), flood modelling, and furthered my skills within GIS and flood risk mapping. This valuable experience helped prepare me for postgraduate employment and played an important part in helping me secure my job at Ringway Jacobs.

In addition to the academic milestones I achieved at the GID Department, I also made incredible memories whilst studying there, with the highlight definitely being my trip up Mt.Vesuvius (Italy); something I will cherish forever.

My time spent studying within the GID Department has enabled me to work within a wonderful team and within an exciting job role. I would recommend GID to people looking to study for their undergraduate degree, as I firmly believe you could not find a more supportive and inspiring environment in which to grow as both an academic and an individual.

I look forward to hopefully returning myself in the near future to study my MSc in Flood Risk Assessment, Modelling and Engineering.

If you would like to find out more about studying at the University of Chester, we have a number of events available for you to book on to. You can view them all here


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