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Hi, my name’s Emmy! Geography was always my favourite subject in school, the main reason being my interest in Natural Hazards. I had so many questions, how do they occur? What are the causes? How do people live in hazard prone areas? Can people be protected from hazards? Questions such as these drove me to study Geography and Natural Hazards Management at the University of Chester (2014 - 2017). 

My time within the Geography and International Development Department was inspiring. The staff and their level of knowledge of various areas of Geography made studying that much easier. There was always someone you could seek help from. This was something I struggled to do in my first year as I was pretty shy and hated asking for help, however, my lecturers made me feel welcome and comfortable and I soon came out of my shell.  

The worry of not being able to secure a job after university dawned on me as I was approaching the end of my course. Now I look back and wonder what I was ever worried about. Going to university not only opened doors for me but it has played a major role in shaping me into the woman I am today.

Since completing my course, I’ve been able to apply the skills acquired and knowledge learned into multiple roles. Immediately after graduating I worked as a GIS technician at Northern Powergrid. My role was to insert live data of cable works that had been undertaken in the field onto an in-house GIS system for record purposes. Although I enjoyed my role, I knew this wasn’t the career path I wanted to take. Whilst at University, I gained a great interest in Flood Risk Management. A few months into my role at Northern Powergrid, I was lucky enough to be approached about a role within the Flood Risk Management team at Leeds City Council (LCC), a place I was familiar with. 

In my second year of University, I had the opportunity to work for LCC as part of my Work Based Learning (WBL) module. I worked with the various teams: Assets Management, Investigations, Projects and Development Control. My main role was working with the Assets Management team, inserting data into ArcGIS, data which the team still use today. I believe my WBL module had the greatest impact in helping me secure my job with LCC. I was sceptical at first of doing a placement, I couldn’t see how it would help me in my studies. How wrong I was. My placement helped me gain a rich understanding of the industry. Due to the fact I could move around the various teams within FRM, I was able to try figure out what career path within FRM I would want to take. 

I was successful in obtaining a full-time role as a Flood Risk Engineer working as part of the Development Control team (DC). According to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, Lead Local Flood Authorities have the responsibility of providing responses to major developments (10 or more dwellings), providing advice on drainage and flood risk matters. My role required me to liaise with planners and developers to ensure that correct information was provided. We would analyse micro-drainage calculations and drainage schemes to ensure the information was in line with the councils Minimum Development Control Standards for Flood Risk, as well as national policies such as The National Planning Policy Framework. I also volunteered as a site operative for the Flood Alleviation Scheme consisting of movable weirs and flood gates. This role required me to be on call for one week in every month, undertaking linear checks along the River Aire to ensure there were no obstructions on the River or the Weirs which could possibly increase the risk of flooding. One of my proudest moments was being part of a team who operated the weirs for the first time in a flood event back in March 2019.

My career so far has been hugely impacted by my degree at the University of Chester. I have since relocated to Chester and hope to further my education by completing a Masters degree 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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