Anne Harding studied BSc Geophysical sciences (Industrial) at the School of Earth and Environment.

Anne Harding


Why do a placement?

Industrial placements are vital for improving skills which you have developed in your first two years of university, networking with professionals and obtaining important industry experience.  It is becoming more and more important to have more on your CV than a good degree, and employers want to see skills and experience obtained beyond the lecture theatre.  An industrial placement, whether it is for a month or for a year, is about trying your hand at a particular career, providing you with good experience that allows you to enhance your degree and your CV.  

What placement did you decide to do?

During my Year in Industry, I worked with Atkins' Water Management Consultancy (WMC) for 14 months.  Atkins is an international design, engineering and project management consultancy which has approximately 18000 employees worldwide.  The WMC team is comprised of ~400 employees across the UK, including environmental scientists, water quality specialists, geomorphologists, hydrologists, hydrogeologists and engineers. 

What did the role involve?

My work at Atkins involved water resources modelling using Aquator software, using Excel/VBA to process and analyse data, conducting river habitat data analysis using GIS and Python, developing spatial analysis skills in ArcGIS, QGIS and AutoCAD, performing hydromorphology walkovers, flow gauging and hydrology scoping studies in the field, assisting in river restoration and sustainable management projects, performing environmental assessment co-ordination for flood-affected sites and also assisting with ecology studies. 

How has this placement benefitted you?

The wide variety of projects I was exposed to during my placement has enabled me to obtain an overview of the current water and environmental management industries and has given me first-hand experience of working in a large environmental consultancy.  This experience has informed my decision to undertake an MSc in River Basin Dynamics and Management with GIS at the University of Leeds' School of Geography part-time (commencing September 2017), alongside returning to Atkins part-time as a Graduate Environmental Scientist.