A career in hydrology has allowed Lauriane to work all over the world…
As part of my degree in water engineering and sciences I took a gap year, during which I completed various international internships. I secured a five-month internship in the UK with JBA Consulting, where I worked on a project for the Environment Agency undertaking 1D river modelling and assessing the impact of a dam on flooding. I then worked for six months as a research assistant for the French Research Institute for Development (IRD) in Bangkok, carrying out soil erosion modelling. This placement included two months field work in a remote area of the North of Thailand, taking water and soil samples.
My degree was very useful as it gave me the fundamental knowledge needed to be a hydrologist. Subjects covered included river hydraulics, hydrology, water treatment and supply, wastewater treatment, urban drainage, water ecology and flood risk management.
I was fortunate enough to spend my final year's internship at ERM, an international consultancy, in Jakarta, Indonesia. Here I completed a full river water quality and quantity assessment of the River Cimande on Java Island. The client, Coca-Cola, was planning to use this water source for beverage production and cleaning processes.
My first post-graduation position was with JBA Consulting where I was involved in the Catchment Flood Management Plan (CFMP) of the Great Ouse catchment in Cambridgeshire. A year later, I joined MWH , an international consultancy. I am currently working on an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for National Grid.
On a daily basis, my job involves managing large datasets using GIS (Geographic Information System) software, completing 1D/2D river modelling, analysing river flows, hydrogeomorphology and assessing the impact of climate change. I am really keen to specialise in water resources management as it involves a wide spectrum of interesting areas including engineering, hydrology, policy and social.
What I love about my job is that it is very diverse, not only in terms of projects but also clients or teams I am working with. Each project is unique and I am therefore constantly learning new skills.
Working for a consultancy means ensuring client expectations are met in terms of delivery time and cost as well as, most importantly, quality. This means that with each project, I strive to find better and more efficient ways of completing tasks as there is always room for improvement!
The opportunities in the water sector are huge. I like the feeling that I could work anywhere in the world, as there are water issues in every single country. Employers range from public bodies, international bodies, utilities, consultancies, research centres or charities. Clients are also diverse; I am constantly meeting and mixing with different people many of whom are regarded as leaders of their industry.
I have found that student work experience is a great plus on my CV. It has allowed me to refine my professional experience, gain valuable hands-on training and build my own professional network. I am also a British Hydrological Society (BHS) member and graduate Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) member. I am currently working towards my CIWEM chartership.
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