June 7, 2021, by abrierley
My Regulated Industry placement at The Environment Agency’
by Kwabena Gyan-Amponsah, PhD Candidate – School of Geography
Throughout the course of my PhD, I have on several occasions pondered over the idea of getting some work experience to add to my CV before completion and starting a job search. I happened to chance upon an email about internship opportunities in the faculty of social sciences and decided to give it a try. I got the opportunity to work with the Regulated Industry team of the Environment Agency in the East Midlands for 7 weeks, which was very insightful. The placement was done remotely, and I worked on several tasks as part of my role, notable among them developing a fire risk categorisation system that would be used for assessment, assessing a fire prevention plan and participating in a climate change adaptation audit.
Having worked as an environmental consultant in my home country before beginning my PhD, I was interested in gaining some experience and understanding of how the Environment Agency in England worked and that was one of the main driving factors that got me interested in undertaking the placement with the agency. The placement was very helpful allowing me to learn a lot about the work of the regulated industry team of the agency and their mandate to ensure that companies comply with the requisite environmental regulations as well as protecting the environment, lives and property.
The application process for the placement was quite a simple and comprehensive process that required applicants to indicate why they were to be selected for the placement. The interview process was similarly a simple and straightforward discussion to determine whether the applicant was well suited for the role. My tips on the application and interview process for any potential applicant is to put together a very good application, research the host company before the interview and be confident going into the interview.
As part of my placement, I got to meet with the heads of the various sections who spent time talking me through what details of the work their sections work on, which was informative and beneficial. The most enjoyable part of the placement for me was having to be part of a team that carried out a climate change adaption audit. This task was interesting and informative. It was also the first time I had carried out a climate change adaption audit and it is something that will be helpful to my practice as an environmental consultant for the future.
One of the major worries for me even before I started the placement was how I was going to combine its demands with my PhD. However, I worked out my placement times with my placement supervisor such that it did not distract me from working on my PhD and it actually ended up being an enjoyable break from my PhD work.
My advice to anyone considering a similar placement would be to apply for that position even if they do not meet all the requirements and to make sure to put in their best application. For those worried about not being able to combine it with their academic work, my advice will be to give it a try and arrange a flexible working schedule with their host company.
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