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Coastal and river engineering

Natural changes, such as rising sea levels and climate change, together with increasing pressures to better our interface with the natural environment, are breathing new life into coastal and river engineering, says Mick Newman

To work in coastal and river management, graduates need more than a straight engineering background. There is still room for 'hard engineering', but this is now combined with a growing need for understanding the potential impact of any engineering intervention on natural and human environments.

Our increased awareness of the potential to affect our environment, together with legislation such as the EU Habitats Directive, mean that a far broader understanding is now required.

Posford Duvivier regularly recruits engineering and science graduates. They may have a degree in civil engineering; or an MSc or a related specialist element to their degree, such as coastal engineering, environmental management or water resources.

We also employ specialists - those with a first degree in coastal or river sciences or engineering.

We are looking for engineers and scientists with good academic qualifications who are also good communicators, as the work will always involve face to face dialogue with many 'stakeholders', including landowners, local authorities, the Environment Agency and environment bodies like English Nature.

Candidates will find the work challenging as they will be required to think for themselves and understand the problems they are faced with. Unlike other areas of civil engineering, there are very few codes of practice to guide you in coastal and river engineering.

We currently have a strong workload in the UK, with a great deal of work springing out of recent flooding events, particularly the major floods of two years ago, which have prompted a need to examine areas at risk from flooding and develop flood warning and alleviation schemes. Demand for our skills overseas is also buoyant, particularly from developing countries looking to construct ports and protect waterside development.

People capable of original thought will find a career in coastal and river engineering very rewarding. While the pay is similar to that in other areas of civil engineering, this sector does benefit from being less susceptible to boom and bust than others, being driven by nature rather than politics. The demand for sound coastal and river engineering skills can only grow as the friction between the man-made environment and the inexorable natural processes of change continues to increase.

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