Engineers concerned about ageism in the workplace (NCE 28 March) should consider working for the Environment Agency, where we positively welcome staff of all ages, including the over 45s. We have over 160 vacancies in flood defence and are struggling to find sufficient high calibre staff (see www. environmentagency. gov. uk/jobs).
Our strategy is to get the right people in the right place at the right time. We offer a comprehensive system of training and development that identifies skills and competencies and works to fill any gaps with training courses.
Providing applicants have core engineering or scientific skills, we welcome those changing direction in their careers.
Once people join us, there are varied opportunities to move and develop in other areas and functions within the Agency. The Agency has an excellent record for retaining staff - the average retirement age is over 60 in flood defence.
People are not turfed out when they get beyond 50!
Our flood defence business is increasing - and there are exciting and interesting career opportunities. We have achieved additional funding in flood defence and we are developing new technologies, ideas and ways of working.
While the Agency successfully responded to last year's floods, some communities remain vulnerable and the expectation for delivery is increasing. We have to meet that challenge head on, and for that we need the best people - of all ages.
Ian Hope (F), regional water manager, Environment Agency