- 25th January 2022
- Posted by: Miranda Pont
- Category: Blog
Did you know that our training courses are delivered by JBA specialists with years of practical experience? Our trainers draw on a wealth of industry knowledge, bringing their first-hand experience into the training environment, along with their enthusiasm for teaching. In the first of three blogs, we’re going to meet the JBA experts who deliver our training courses.
We’ve been catching up with some our trainers to find out what they enjoy most about writing and delivering training courses. Starting this week with our hydrology experts: Maxine Zaidman, Duncan Faulkner and James Molloy.
Maxine Zaidman – Technical Director| Hydrology and Hydrometry
I’ve been involved in training delivery right from the start of my career with JBA twenty years ago. Over that time, I’ve written around 15 individual courses on a broad range of topics under the hydrology umbrella – including hydrometry, drought analysis, flood hydrology, rating reviews, groundwater flooding and low flow hydrology, hydrological data analysis – and even a Train the Trainer. I think I’ve probably delivered close to 200 days of training to more than 1000 delegates! High points have been lecturing at Lancaster University on the PG Certificate in Flood Risk Management as well as helping to train a whole generation of Environment Agency hydrologists.
I really love being involved in training; my style is quite jovial and I like an informal setting where trainees feel able to fully participate without pressure. I’ve also developed quite a lot of e-learning material, which appeals to my creative side, although I miss being able to engage directly with delegates to see what motivates them.
One of my roles in JBA involves leading our Learning & Development team. We are constantly refining and expanding our training service to clients, and that means keeping up to date with best practice in training design and delivery and also regularly refreshing our training course portfolio so it reflects topical issues in the industry. It also means that I get to work with some wonderful professionals, both within JBA and externally.
Duncan Faulkner – Head of Hydrology
I’m Chief Hydrologist at JBA. I specialise in flood hydrology and have contributed to flood studies ranging in scale from the river at the bottom of my garden to continental-scale flood risk mapping for Canada and Australia. Flood management in developing countries is a growing area of my work, bringing me full circle to one of my motivations for choosing hydrology as a career 27 years ago, hoping to make a difference to people vulnerable to natural disasters. Not all floods are natural and another focus I have is on reservoir flood safety, from dam safety investigations in Myanmar to leading a current UK research project on new methods for estimating the probable maximum flood.
One of the aspects of my role I enjoy the most is helping to bring new ideas from academia and research projects into use by practitioners. I enjoy the challenge of communicating scientific concepts, whether these are the physical processes of runoff generation or the statistics of non-stationary flood frequency. I’ve been running training since the 1990s and have long since lost count of the number of courses I’ve run, which must be well into three figures. What I enjoy most about being a trainer is seeing people who have been on my courses flourishing in their careers, whether as fellow consultants, regulators, managers or researchers. Approached in the right spirit, training can be an opportunity for everyone to teach and everyone to learn – including the trainer. It’s always good to see people sharing their experiences and learning from their peers. For me this is one of the real benefits of face-to-face training.
I try to take a quirky approach to training, including unexpected touches. Delegates are sometimes surprised to find random number generation machines under their seats. And it’s surprising what a bathroom sponge can teach you about runoff. Shakespeare had a lot to say about flood seasonality, and Monet and Banksy provide a helpful guide to identifying urban catchments. I won’t give away any more secrets here.
James Molloy – Hydrologist and Flood Modeller
I began working for JBA Consulting in 2012 after completing a Masters Degree in Engineering Hydrology, gained from my local university (NUI Galway). Having grown up in a karst landscape in the west of Ireland, I’ve always been fascinated with how rivers work, especially in flood conditions where the local geology caused water to appear seemingly from nowhere! This was probably the main reason why I chose a career in Hydrology.
In the years since joining JBA, I have gained experience in several areas of flood risk analysis, specialising in flood hydrology and fluvial river/ floodplain hydraulic modelling. My work can be quite varied including catchment flood mapping, hydrometry, low-flow analysis, flood alleviation design, statistical analysis, software code development, independent reviews, project management, and report writing.
Given the experience that I have built up over time, it seemed like a natural step to also take on delivery of technical training courses such as our Introduction to FEH and FEH Users courses, among others. When delivering a training course, or any concepts in general, I enjoy the challenge of taking a complex idea and breaking that down into more manageable pieces for an intended audience. I’m a firm believer in the “…teach a man to fish…” concept; I’d hope that following a training session that I’ve given a person the tools and mindset to analyse other broad-ranging problems in any scientific field, not just limited to hydrology.
Dealing with the ongoing COVID situation has certainly been challenging when delivering training courses, but working together with our Learning & Development team, we have transformed many of our technical courses to a virtual environment with surprisingly efficient solutions. Our FEH Users course was one of the first technical sessions where we successfully demonstrated that virtual training was a viable solution to meet current challenges.
Want to know more?
You can find the full list of available training courses on our webpage.
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