There are an estimated 8,000 people currently working in the flood and coastal defence sector but with further flooding events predicted in the UK over the next few years, it is not nearly enough.
The Environment Agency has developed its own foundation degree in river and coastal engineering in a bid to beat forecast shortage of flood engineers.
According to a recent ICE study, there is an 11% shortage of public sector professionals working in flood risk management at the moment and this is forecast to rise to 19% in five years because of a rise in flood and coastal infrastructure workload.
As well as a basic shortage of flood engineers able to make informed judgements, the Agency has also identified a shortage of team leaders and project and programme managers, particularly people with a detailed understanding of hydraulics, hydrology, coastal processes and skills in hydraulic and hydrological modelling.
During the degree, students will work for the Agency on three month secondments and will then be able to apply for full time Agency positions.
They will also have a route to a full time degree course, an option which seven of the 33 students in the first year of the course took up.