Being an intern at SEPA – part one

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Ryan DickRyan Dick is a Hydrometric Data and Monitoring Intern in our Perth office. He recently completed a Masters in Water Hazards, Risk and Resilience from the University of Dundee, and before that, did a BSc degree in Geography, also at Dundee. His main interests are on natural hazards geoscience, specifically flooding, storms and tsunami events.

We talked to Ryan to find out a little more about his job and why he chose to work for SEPA.

What attracted you to working for SEPA?

I was interested in working at SEPA because of the many different fields of research that are undertaken within the organisation, and the connection between these different fields. I knew SEPA was involved a lot with flooding in Scotland, but only learned how important the hydrology aspect is with the flood predictions whilst at university. It made me realise that I’d actually get to put my degrees to good use in a practical aspect.

Had you heard of SEPA before applying for the job?

Yes, I knew about SEPA quite well when I was applying.

As a younger member of staff, what does it feel like working at SEPA?

It’s really good because I’m surrounded by people that are so knowledgeable, that I’m constantly learning from them.

What is your job and what does it involve?

I work as a hydrometric data and monitoring intern. I’ve only been in the job a couple of weeks, so at the moment I don’t think I’m fully aware of what it will all involve, but so far I’ve been digitising some of the 4,000 paper hydrometric charts for different gauging stations, which will extend our records of river levels further back. This could help with understanding how rivers have changed over time.

How did you feel on your first day working for SEPA?

I was a little bit nervous but mostly keen to get started with the jobs involved.

What are the best and worst parts of your job?

The best parts are I’m getting to design my own methodology for the digitising of the charts, using advice given by the other colleagues, so I can make it as efficient as possible. I’m also looking forward to getting out on site to assist the hydrometry team with gaugings, once I’ve had my training.

There doesn’t appear to be any real negatives with the job. With designing my own methodology, there have been some teething issues which can be frustrating, but I’ve been able to ask my manager and colleagues for their advice. It’s been really satisfying when I’ve managed to solve my way through those teething issues.

How has SEPA supported you in settling in to your job?

I’ve been given training and support from my manager and colleagues.

What do you see yourself doing in the future?

In all honesty I don’t know. I’ve never been good at planning. I kind of like the uncertainty of not knowing, but I wouldn’t rule out staying at SEPA if an opportunity came up.

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