Government moves to tackle skills shortage in environmental engineering

Defra, the Environment Agency and the Institute of Civil Engineers are pushing a joint initiative to tackle the skills shortage in flood risk managers.

The joint plan, Action on Engineering Skills Shortage in Flood Risk Management, outlines a series of actions to inspire school leavers and graduates into careers in flood and coastal engineering and ways to retain and develop them.

It comes in response to recommendations in a report which identified a shortage of engineering and science skills in the workforce and in flood risk management in particular.

The three groups are working together with consultants, contractors, and other organisations involved in flood risk management to improve the situation.

David Rooke, head of Flood Risk Management at the Environment Agency, said: "Having sufficient skilled engineers and technical staff is key to successful delivery of flood risk management. We want to work with the industry and education sector to ensure that our needs can be met against an increase in flood risk. Protecting people from the environment and the environment from people is a very challenging and rewarding career."

The main focus of efforts between industry and the education sector will be to encourage more graduates into flood risk management by providing vacation and sandwich course placements; provide more case studies and computer models for undergraduate courses; improve provision of postgraduate education in flood management; promote skills development in the workplace and other initiatives to help retain staff within flood and coastal risk management.

John Prichard, ICE's Director of Engineering, said: "Finding sufficient good quality engineers to address the skills shortage in flood risk management is essential. ICE is keen to work with all employers to ensure that the development needs and aspirations of these candidates are met."



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