May 26, 2021, by lzzeb
My placement with Trent Rivers Trust
A blog by Hannah Bonham (MSc Environmental Leadership and Management)
At the start of my first term on the Environmental Leadership and Management course I was made aware of a variety of placement opportunities and decided to apply for a 10-week placement with Trent Rivers Trust. I worked in a small team on a project for Derbyshire County Council to assess the suitability of natural flood management in the Eyam catchment for the protection of local communities against flooding. The main focus of my role was to use hydrology functionalities on GIS software to assess suitable locations for natural flood management. Towards the end of the placement, I also gained experience developing a professional report where results of my GIS analysis were written up for the council.
I thoroughly enjoyed the days spent on the placement, and I believe that the skills I gained over the 10 weeks ultimately landed me a job in the field a few weeks after. It was really interesting being able to apply what I had learnt in my university modules to a real-world scenario. Even though my placement was carried out remotely, the work was tailored so that I could enhance and refresh my technical GIS skills. Although I had been slightly apprehensive about starting a Masters course and a placement in the first term, it was definitely easy to balance the workload. This was helped by my supervisors who ensured that the amount of work allocated could be done on one day per week. The application process was relatively easy and consisted of an application form and an informal interview over Teams. I would say that asking lots of questions is a good way of expressing your enthusiasm when in the interview. I made sure to research the organisation beforehand and managed to find some YouTube videos which I tailored my questions around.
The most enjoyable part of the placement was a site visit to Eyam in the Peak District. It was nice to put the desk based work into perspective and be able to see the landscape where the natural flood management would be carried out. I really enjoyed being able to apply what I had seen on the site visit to my GIS analyses and see the development of the project from start to finish.
My biggest challenge on the placement was troubleshooting any GIS software issues. However, this only enhanced my confidence as I was always able to persevere to find a solution. My placement supervisor was also extremely helpful answering the questions I had and when helping to solve any technical difficulties.
My final hints and tips would be to apply for a placement if you see one that interests you, even if you don’t have 100% of the necessary or desired skills in the job description. Also, be confident and enthusiastic in the interview process and throughout the placement as this definitely made it more enjoyable. Best of luck for your future interviews and placements!
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