Does a career in the public sector appeal to you? Maybe you should consider applying for a role at the Environment Agency, where no two days are ever the same.
Skills required: Business, communication, project management, organisational skills
£££: Starting salary c. £22k, senior roles c. £60k
Meet Matt Thompson, a Technical Leader in the Environment Agency.
Tell us about a typical day in your job
There isn’t a typical day! It can be dealing with a major pollution incident from a large industrial site such as a chemical plant, food processing factory or incinerator, although fortunately, this doesn’t happen every week. I also audit and inspect very large industrial installations enforcing environmental legislation, principally through advice and guidance, but also by serving legal notices and prosecuting companies as the last resort to protect public health and the environment.
What made you want to join the Environment Agency?
I did a degree in Chemistry and didn’t want to be stuck in a lab or an office every day for the rest of my life.
How did you get into the Environment Agency?
After a series of disastrous interviews, I realised that I had to really prepare and learnt exactly what the job was about, the legislation that applied and practised my lines beforehand. It is almost like acting, but you have to put yourself across very well in a short space of time and the interviewers need to warm to you.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your job?
Some members of the public think we can just shut a company down if they don’t like how they are operating. Complainants often think we are on the side of the industry and sometimes the industry thinks that we are penalising them because of public pressure. I think that suggests that we have the balance right.
What courses or training did you do?
I did a degree in Chemistry, I did a Waste Management diploma and a large number of environmental courses within the Environment Agency. We undertake a considerable amount of training to keep up to date.
What was your university life like?
Wild - it was great to get away from home.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to join the Environment Agency?
Understand how the competency-based interview framework works and how to apply real-life examples to any question asked. It’s worth trying to get in doing any job you can and then applying for internal roles when you have been there a while. That way you may get a chance to apply for a dream job that is not advertised outside of the organisation.
If you're passionate about the environment then why not check out our blog about keeping the planet safe during a pandemic?
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