Three years on the BSc(Hons) Environmental Management course at UCLan set Philippa Francis up for an exciting and varied career within the Environment Agency.
“I had always enjoyed Geography and the UCLan Environmental Management course was an interesting mix of Geography and Science, furthermore, it looked the most transferable of all the Geography courses on offer, which appealed to me,” said Philippa. “The course was great and after three years I left University with fantastic memories. UCLan was a fantastically friendly place with a great atmosphere, particularly the Environmental Management course and lecturers,” she added.
Upon graduation, Philippa worked in Higher Education for a period in roles at UCLan and Durham University, before securing a job at the Environment Agency as an Environment Officer.
“It was an organisation I’d always longed to work for, and I wasn’t disappointed. The role which was never dull - I was involved in everything from investigating pollution incidents, sampling rivers and working closely with the agricultural community.” During her time as an Environment Officer, Philippa undertook two secondments, one in Agricultural Policy, the other in Flood Risk Management Policy.
“The two secondments certainly helped me secure my next role as Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency. My degree also proved amazingly useful in getting me to that point. What seemed like interesting facts and figures in the lecture theatre really came into their own in the field.”
In her role as Executive Assistant, Philippa was responsible for managing the preparation of speeches and briefings on behalf of the Chief Executive, in addition to keeping her informed of relevant news and issues. “It was a fantastic position, in an amazing working environment. Days were long, intensive but immensely satisfying.”
Philippa has now moved onto a new role within the Environment Agency as a Project Officer for the Yorkshire Area. “The environment is such an important asset and I feel privileged to play my part in looking after it. It can be very hard work, but all the time and effort seem worthwhile when you see your work making a difference,” reflected Phillipa.
TOP TIP FOR UNDERGRADUATES: If you want to get into this field and make a difference – go for it! You’ve simply got to work hard and get as much experience as you can both working with the environment and with people.