Ryan Pigott

Year of: 2017

Subjects studied: Maths, Further Maths, Geography, Chemistry (AS)

What did you do after leaving Kirk Hallam Sixth Form: After finishing sixth form, I went on to the University of Leeds to study a degree in BSc Geography with Environmental Mathematics. During my three years there, I studied a range of physical geography modules encompassing ecology, weather and climate, glaciology and hydrology, as well as some mathematical modules that gave me skills to model the environment. In my final year I specialised in hydrology and water management and wrote my research project on the effect of weirs in rivers, which came 2nd in a national undergraduate competition through the British Hydrological Society!

What are you doing now: I live in Leeds and since graduating university in May 2020, I have been working for the Environment Agency in their Flood Risk Management Operations department. I worked as part of the Lower Aire catchment team that covers places including Pontefract, Castleford, Ferrybridge and Goole. Our job was to ensure that flood risk assets, including embankments, flood walls, flood gates and pumping stations, are maintained to the appropriate condition, so they protect people and property during a flood. We also wrote emergency plans that detail how the assets should be operated in a flood event, for example at what river level should a flood gate be closed. Due to the flooding from Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis in Winter 2019/20, I've also been involved with delivering a programme of recovery works to repair many of our damaged flood defences. I have just come to the end of this job at the Environment Agency and will be starting a new role soon with Yorkshire Water in their Emergency Planning team. This will involve making sure that plans and equipment are in place to respond to emergencies relating to burst water pipes, disruptions to drinking water supply and sewer flooding, as well as working with other emergency services to prepare and exercise for these scenarios.

Advice you would give to KS5: When I was in KS5, I knew I wanted to go to university but I had no clue what I wanted to do after that. I don't think I even really knew that the kind of job I do now existed! If you're unsure of what you want to do after university long term, don't worry, as that is how most people at this stage feel, but my number one tip is to make sure that whatever step you decide to take next, it is something that you will enjoy and be happy doing. My other piece of advice is to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. There are lots of opportunities at university to get involved with a whole range of things, so don't miss out on them!