Flood management foundation course launched

The Environment Agency has launched a new Foundation Degree course in Rivers and Coastal Engineering to help meet the growing need for flood management engineers and address the widespread skills shortage in the engineering profession.

The two year course is funded by the Agency in partnership with the University of the West of England, Middlesex University and Bristol University. It has attracted 33 students for the first course, who will study alongside experienced staff members selected as mentors and coaches, combined with block release academic study at university.

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency said: "This qualification, specifically designed to our requirements, shows that we are planning ahead, creating a new generation of engineers to help manage the rising threat of flooding. We are also positively addressing the current skills deficit in the civil engineering profession. In effect, we are growing our own talent."

The Institution of Civil Engineers has reported a 20% skills shortage across the profession, with most engineering based businesses reporting recruitment difficulties. At the same time, flooding is becoming more and more of a threat to people and property.

Students will work on three-month secondments to acquire the essential skills of flood risk management. After completing the course they will be able to apply for permanent Agency positions. Alternatively, students can apply for a place on a full degree course.

By David Hopkins



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