March 21, 2023, by Rebekah

Placement with Nottinghamshire County Council Flood Risk Management Team

by Bryony Roguz, 3rd year Geography student. 

During the autumn term, I welcomed the opportunity of completing a 6-week placement with Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) in Flood Risk Management. It was a fantastic experience; I was genuinely gutted to leave on my final week! The Flood Risk team comprise of a small group of passionate and supportive people, I thoroughly enjoyed working with them. I developed many skills throughout my placement experience, from data handling to working on projects as a team.

Application process

I received a university email from the Faculty of Social Sciences about the placement opportunity with NCC, and immediately read upon the role and eligibility criteria. After gathering all relevant information, I sent my CV and covering letter to the contact details provided. Despite the excitement of applying for this role, I knew it would be competitive and I doubted my relevant experience. Although, I later received an email back to arrange a date for interview. After an informal phone call, I received the news that I had been successful! I would encourage everyone to put themselves ‘out there’ and apply to anything you want to do. Believe you are just as good as every other applicant, and you have absolutely nothing to lose by trying!

My experience on placement

During my time with NCC, I engaged in a mixture of independent work, as well as working alongside a trainee. This was definitely my favourite part of the placement; working on a group project helped me learn computer software skills and data manipulation quicker than attempting to work it out alone. It was enjoyable to commit to a common purpose; we both were able to produce work to our best ability whilst building a positive relationship alongside. I felt included throughout the entirety of my placement experience. My supervisor invited me on a visit to a local primary school so that I could experience how the Flood Risk team project their work to the wider community. I truly enjoyed this opportunity and found it particularly fascinating to engage with children and encounter their thoughts on geographical hazards. The majority of my placement occurred in the NCC office. They were flexible in the option of in-person or remote working; I chose to work entirely in-person to receive all the support I needed, and I enjoyed my days working with the people in the office. My responsibilities involved data handling, the digitalisation of data and cartography. This enabled me to gain experience using computer software that I hadn’t used before (such as QGIS), and will be an advantage when applying to similar jobs upon graduating university.

Biggest challenges

The biggest challenge I was faced with when applying and participating in this placement was my own mindset! After the initial hurdle of applying to a competitive opportunity, I had many worries about undertaking the placement. After accepting the role, I doubted my skillset; “what if the work is too hard for me?” “What if I struggle to make positive relationships?” “What will I do if the workload is too much?”. However, I knew I had been selected by the recruiter for a reason, and shortly after arriving on my first day, all of those doubts were squashed. My supervisor checked in with me frequently and was incredibly supportive.

Final tips and advice

  • You are capable of what you set your mind to. Apply to as much as you can and take every opportunity that is offered to you.
  • Keep a reflective diary, you will learn so many new skills and participate in many different tasks. Placements go by quickly and it is easy to forget the work you have done, keeping a diary is extremely helpful when writing a CV.
  • Explore your career options, the best way to do this is through participating in a placement! It can really help you make decisions on career choices upon graduating university.

The Nottinghamshire County Council Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA) and Local Flood Risk Management Strategy was used as reference throughout the placement.

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