Paul Jones

Paul Jones

What have you been doing since finishing your studies? What are you doing in terms of your career?

Since 2012 I have been advising Internal Drainage Boards on Water Level Management within 10% of the low lying land in England situated within Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire. Collectively, these IDBs maintain 1,500km of Ordinary Watercourse and 124 pumping stations which permit flow through Drainage Districts and benefit Flood Risk Management.

What company are you working for, what is your role and what does it involve?

I have been working within Water Level Management since 2001 and currently work for JBA Consulting (Engineers, Environmental Consultants, Designers and Scientists) as part of the Shire Group team. JBA have supported me throughout my part time study from HNC to BSc to MSc. The Shire Group of IDBs is a non-legal entity managing the interests of IDBs. Each IDB is an independent public authority made up of elected members and council nominated members. 

As Engineer to the Board I work as part of a team to manage Operations, Minor Works, Capital Works, Planning/Development Control/Consents, Staff Development and H&S, and play a key role in leading on Strategy and Change. Recently this has involved understanding the strategic direction for IDBs and demonstrating the benefits of Water Level Management through hydraulic modelling.

The nature of the work also involves liaison and partnerships with Lead Local Flood Authorities, Planning Authorities, Environment Agency, The Coal Authority, Canal & River Trust, Water Companies, Infrastructure Companies, Communities and I have supported the Association of Drainage Authorities at the Great Yorkshire Show to raise the profile of IDBs in connection with Emergency Services and Preparing for Flooding. 

What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career/will help with your future career?

All of the modules have already assisted me and will continue to assist in my career.

In particular, understanding Programming of Projects led to the development of the Shire Group Strategic Management Plan which demonstrates how we will deliver IDB policy/strategy through the management of programmes of projects. The Strategic elements of the course have assisted me in developing IDB Policy and Water Level Management Strategy.

This course was also a turning point in understanding People and Projects and Images of Projects which has helped me understand the "soft skills" of management and stakeholder perspective which is critical when working in partnerships.

I am now building on these experiences through further training supported by JBA with the Institute of Leadership and Management. 

Looking back, why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I wanted to further my academic career and researched courses, modules, and locations suitable for part time study. My initial thoughts were related to Asset Management but the Engineering Project Management course was much more attractive to me as I could see how each module would potentially assist me in my work environment. 

What was the best aspect of the course/the University and why? Any highlights?

The experience and skills of lecturers and guest lecturers from academia and industry was outstanding and really helped to shape my views for the future. The diversity of students and group work was a real benefit for me and allowed me to understand how other countries approach flooding and projects. 

What would you say to students thinking about studying the same course at Leeds/thinking about the same career?

Research the course programme and think about how each module will benefit you and others around you. I was able to identify with the modules I enjoyed every minute of my time at Leeds and I hope you get the same fulfilment that I was lucky enough to experience.