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Employability of GEES graduates: issues from the Environment Agency Chris Thomas Head of Business for Geoscience.

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Presentation on theme: "Employability of GEES graduates: issues from the Environment Agency Chris Thomas Head of Business for Geoscience."— Presentation transcript:

1 Employability of GEES graduates: issues from the Environment Agency Chris Thomas Head of Business for Geoscience

2 What will I be talking about ? What does the Environment Agency do? What is the scale of our GEES related work? What are our issues about employability of GEES graduates, especially geoscientists? What have we been doing to solve the problem?

3 What does the Environment Agency do? Leading body protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales Protection, improvement and regulation of air, land and water Largest UK employer of hydrogeologists 2nd largest UK employer of geoscientists ~13000 staff – more than 60% from a range of GEES backgrounds

4 What GEES related work do we do? Environmental advice, regulation, monitoring, protection, incidents, flood risk management Water quality and resources, conservation, flood defence, fisheries, ecology, land quality, recreation, air quality, envt. planning Field officers, specialist technical roles and supporting office based roles

5 What is the scale of the work? 350 geoscientists 1200 field officers 1300 policy and science staff 1200 environmental monitoring staff 1500 flood risk management roles plus hydrology, hydrometry, geomorphology, land use, climate change, sustainability etc

6 What are our entry requirements? Generally, a good relevant scientific degree for all GEES related roles Geoscience / science research- traditionally needed a postgraduate degree Flood risk management- we run a foundation degree for new starters Further internal development training / experience before capable to work alone

7 Starting salaries Junior team member (generalist)-£19K Team member (more specialist)- £24K Technical specialist- £30K Senior technical specialist- £38K

8 What issues have we had with recruitment and retention? Geoscience Reduction in postgraduate courses and suitable applicants High turnover of staff especially after 2-3 years- pay related Could easily attract graduates but missing skills Increased need for extra specialist training, previously provided by universities Spending £1.5M p.a on consultants to fill gaps

9 What have we done about it? Identified key capabilities for geoscientists health and safety personal behaviours core technical knowledge application of that knowledge to various activities Developed linked training-internal and external- and coaching / mentoring scheme

10 What were the results initially? 20% staff dont meet entry capabilities 40% staff need supervision to do their work 40% staff under 5 years experience Significant gap in core technical abilities in new recruits Gap in our internal training for these skills

11 What did we do about it? Link to UWE to develop modular M.Sc in Environmental Management Link to other universities for existing post grad. courses/modules Reinforcing recruitment criteria with team leaders Targeting improvement in core skills Developed a workforce plan

12 What has happened during the last year? After 12 months, in geoscience, we have a significant improvement in core technical skills but still a way to go TDF endorsed by the Geological Society, CIWEM and SiLC Endorsed certificates of Practising Geologist and Practising Environmental Regulator

13 What else? Progressing adoption of the TDF and associated training approach across the brownfield industry Sharing our approach with the oil and gas industry Rolling out TDFs for field officers, industry regulators, all field monitoring and appraisal, hydrology, science, policy etc

14 Conclusion Reduction in the number of courses and changing syllabi at schools and universities have an impact on employers Employers are having to fill in gaps in technical knowledge of graduates We have particular issues in geoscience, hydrology, civil engineering and land use planning We all need to work together to solve the problems

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