Academic collaboration – learning and development is key

Our culture promotes drive and innovation and we believe that learning and development are key. That’s why we regularly provide placement and work experience opportunities to a range of students across different levels and topics of study.

Recently, Molly Asher and Luke Stockton from the University of Leeds, a university we currently partner with for many things including postgraduate training opportunities, joined our Skipton offices. Luke worked in one of our hydrologic modelling teams for a two-week period, whilst Molly has joined us on a longer-term basis for a couple of days a week.

Below, they tell us more about their experiences and how an opportunity at JBA is helping them in their future careers.

Communicating forecast uncertainty to end-users

Molly Asher JBA work experience 2019
Molly Asher

Hi, I’m Molly Asher and I’m working on the Flood Foresight project, JBA’s near real-time and flood forecasting software. I’m investigating ways in which forecast uncertainty can be best communicated to end-users.

Flood forecasting is increasingly based on using ensemble prediction systems to produce a probabilistic forecast. This involves using multiple model runs (with varying input and model parameters) to produce multiple forecasts of the future. From this it is possible for the probability of a particular outcome, e.g. rain tomorrow, to be calculated. Although probabilistic forecasting is increasingly common it is still unclear how best to communicate results to the end-users.

Alongside this, I am a part-time student at the University of Leeds where I am completing an MSc in River Basin Dynamics and Management. My course is focused on various aspects of catchment management, from hydrology, ecology and field skills to flood modelling and environmental data analytics. Work on placement with JBA gives me an excellent opportunity to learn more about how these kinds of knowledge and skills are applied through environmental consultancy and to further develop my expertise in these areas.

GIS datasets

Luke Stockton JBA work experience Feb 2019
Luke Stockton

My name is Luke Stockton and I am a Masters student at the University of Leeds, studying River Basin Dynamics and Management with GIS. My course briefly provides taught sessions using Flood Modeller and Tuflow, but I wanted more exposure to software such as these, and the opportunity to witness how these models are used within the consultancy industry.

During my first week at JBA, I spent my time working on GIS datasets for numerous projects, gaining an insight into the work that each project requires. Even small catchment projects require a very large amount of data gathering, processing and formatting in order to produce outputs such as risk maps and economic assessments.

Throughout my second week, I worked exclusively on one project, not only using ArcGIS but also utilising my Flood Modeller experience. As a flood risk model, the project used a 1D/2D model to produce flood extents for a large range of flood recurrence intervals which were produced using Flood Modeller and Tuflow. This type of model links in-channel flows with out of channel flows that are controlled by the topography of the land either side of the channel.

My time with JBA was my longest exposure to Flood Modeller and I have learnt a lot about the software, its layout and how it works as well as about the structures within channels. There is a public perception that rivers are natural, but after observing the projects I worked on and projects around the office, it is clear to see that there is a lot of artificial structures. I learned new terminology and understanding of how urban drainage and culvert systems interact with ‘natural’ rivers.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Broughton Hall office. Smaller rooms and the estate location brought the workforce closer together, especially going for a walk during lunch. Following on from my placement, I will continue to write an academic critique of my modelling studies and still wish to pursue a career in consultancy.

Want to know more?

Email our careers team for more information on work experience opportunities. You can also see our latest job opportunities on our careers web page.

We also welcome apprentices to the team. If you’re thinking of undertaking an apprenticeship and would like to know more about doing so with JBA, explore our handy guide which gives useful advice and stories from some of our current apprentice’s.

Click here to explore our apprenticeship opportunities.

Did you know we also have a graduate scheme?

Our flexible Graduate Programme offers exciting career opportunities in Engineering, Environmental Management, Software/Systems Development and Water Management/Geoscience. Enabling you to contribute to exciting and innovative projects whilst working alongside technical specialists and industry experts.

Visit our graduate recruitment web pages for more information – applications open towards the end of the year.

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