Meet Jimmy, who is passionate about the climate and works to prevent homes from flooding.
|Current job||Flood and Coastal Risk Management Officer at the Environment Agency|
|Year of graduation||2020|
|Course of study||BSc (Hons) Physical Geography with a Year Abroad|
Pursuing a career in physical geography
'After my A-levels I knew I wanted to go on to learn more about physical geography. I had a burning desire to study the natural world and all things chaos, like tornados, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, landslides. My studies and time at Herts allowed me to navigate my way through the academic environmental field and I was able to explore my own interests too.'
'I have now found a role that I love at the Environment Agency as a Flood and Coastal Risk Management Officer. I work in the Planning & Permitting Team, and I deal with proposed developments along main rivers and assessing their tidal and fluvial flood risk. I also volunteer in an incident response role which involves creating maps and visuals on geographical software, ArcGIS, to show flooding to residential properties.'
'I am keen to learn new skills and broaden my career options. My career ambition is to go in the direction of climate change, renewable energy, or conservation. For now, my focus is on learning the ropes of the industry, gaining new skills, and talking to lots of interesting people.'
Navigating the job market
'I graduated in 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and I spent a long-time job searching and interviewing – weeks turned to months, and it got really hard to stay motivated. Fortunately, in the summer of 2021, I came across a 6-month government kickstart scheme at my local council with the job title ‘Climate Change Energizer’ and went for it. Whilst working from home, my main task was to commission work with the Carbon Trust to determine the Council’s baseline carbon emissions. This involved scoping out the work to see what could be included in a report, such as mileage data from the vehicle fleet to kWh data from heating council buildings. As my time with the Council ended, I applied for my current role at the Environment Agency.'
'During the run-up to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) I was also able to attend the Lincolnshire Climate Change Summit and network with inventors, innovators, and experts in the field. I made sure to get their contact details and build up my LinkedIn profile.'
'My advice to other students and new graduates is to take risks, volunteer for things, even if they seem scary, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and get set up on LinkedIn.'
Life at Herts is full of experiences
'I was drawn to Physical Geography course at Herts because it offered numerous field trips and I was instantly hooked. In my second year I was lucky enough to travel to Switzerland and wander across the Saas-Fee glacier. I remember the conditions were like a scene out of Narnia, we were told to keep an eye out for crevasses and moulins (vertical channels in the ice where water flows) so we didn’t fall in! Aside from the fun I had on field trips, I was tackling challenging topics like climate change, renewables, sustainability, and it all felt truly relevant to what was going on in the world. I also studied a year overseas and took my second year at the University of Oklahoma in the USA. I met lots of amazing people from around the world, went on adventures, and even managed to go storm chasing with some meteorology friends. I returned from this year of craziness more mature and concentrated on doing my best in my final year.'
'In my final year I was further able to grow in my independence and interest of fieldwork. When collecting soil samples on a wet and windy coastal slope with my supervisor on the Isle of Sheppey, I gained the confidence to lead and organise fieldwork and to stay determined and focussed on the task in hand, despite losing multiple pieces of equipment and wellies in the mud!'
'Despite all the amazing things I did as part of my student experience, one of my favourite memories at Herts was when a few of my fellow geography pals and I left an essay until the last minute and as a group we decided to stay in the library all through the night - someone even brought their pillow with them! We all got a real buzz from staying up late, drinking Red Bull and Monster. We knew we should have finished our essays weeks ago, but it did not matter because we were all in the same boat, together. It’s this shared sense of camaraderie that I remember fondly from university life.'
'The start of my career would not have been possible without the Geography and Environmental Management staff at Herts, who go above and beyond for their students. I have never come across are more dedicated, kind, and helpful team. Having such fantastic role models has certainly shaped who I have become and the mentality I try to bring to work every day.'