Issue date: 18 March 2004

ISSUE DATE: 18/03/04

UWE is leading a consortium of universities to provide the next generation of engineers the country needs to fight floods and defend our coasts from sea level rise as a result of climate change.

The Environment Agency, which has its UK Headquarters in Bristol, has identified a need for specialised engineers who understand the flood defence and management sciences such as hydrology and hydraulics which are essential to the Agency’s work. Currently there are not enough engineering graduates with these skills so the Agency has decided to provide this training themselves – with the help of the University of the West of England and its partners the University of Bristol, and the Flood Hazard Research Centre at Middlesex University.

This innovative two-year foundation degree in river and coastal engineering is due to start in the autumn and expects to recruit around 35 people with the appropriate qualifications who are interested in a career in river and coastal or flood risk management with the Environment Agency. They will be recruited by the Agency and will receive a mix of on-the-job training and academic study.

Students will attend week-long residential teaching blocks based in Bristol and will be provided with a range of on-line learning resources. They will learn about the theory of flood forecasting and management, coastal defence and river rehabilitation. They will have the opportunity to put this theory in practice through practical work in laboratories and field visits.

When the students are in the workplace they will be able to apply the knowledge and skills they have developed during the teaching blocks to real life situations. They may be working on flood defence projects or implementing coastal defence or river engineering solutions, or they may be working on the legal, political or social aspect of flood risk management.

Alison Hoddell, Associate Dean of the Faculty of the Built Environment at UWE said, “The University has long experience in working with partners to provide vocational programmes to meet the needs of employers. The staff team from the three HE institutions includes leaders in their fields of study who also understand the needs of industry. We are looking forward to working with the Environment Agency to provide the river and coastal engineers the country needs.”

Steve Knowles, National Training Adviser for the Environment Agency says, “There is a clear need for more specialists who have the skills and knowledge to manage the risks that floods pose and the challenges predicted by climate change. Coupled with the comprehensive in-house training we supply for our existing staff, this new two year foundation degree offers a long term solution to meeting the UK’s needs for skilled river and coastal engineers who can respond to the social and environmental challenges of climate change.”

To find out more visit: www.environment-agency.gov.uk/jobs and click on the link for Flood Defence Foundation Degree or contact Julian Spicer, the Admissions and Marketing Officer in the Faculty of the Built Environment at UWE on 0117 328 3000.

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