Blog: Talking to geography students about careers in water and environment

Melody Burgess recently visited her former college to talk to students about her journey from school into the environment and flood risk management sector.

On Tuesday 27th June I attended an event at my former college, South Devon College, to give a talk to a group of A-Level Geography students.

During the first part of the presentation, I discussed university and A-Level success, university life and studying BSc Geography at the University of Exeter. In the second part of my presentation, I gave an overview of JBA Trust and JBA Consulting and the work we do in the environmental and flood risk management sector.

I then shared some examples of the work I do in my current role at JBA Consulting. This includes resilience work, such as working with the Environment Agency and Local Authorities on Property Flood Resilience (PFR) Schemes, work with the Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme (FCRIP) Resilience Innovation Working Group (RIWG) and the ResilienTogether FCRIP project. I also gave the students an insight into key technical skills I have developed, mainly focusing on GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and hydraulic modelling.

I used videos including the JBA ‘Understanding Resilience’ animation and ‘BeFloodReady: Missy’s Tale’ to support my presentation:

Additionally, I shared two animations created from an integrated catchment model I built, demonstrating flooding before and after implementing flood defences and the impact my work is having on flood risk management in the South West.

My presentation aimed to give students an insight into further education and to show them the possible career paths a Geography student could take, the variety of work we do and the large number of opportunities there are in this field.

Mr Brookman-Skirrow, an A-Level Geography teacher at the college, said,

“It was brilliant to see Melody doing so well and being passionate about her job.  The presentation and the video clips will really give the students an idea of jobs related to their studies and show them that the information they study is relevant and worthwhile and links to the real world”.