Why is this Centre needed?
Flood risk and resilience has been rising up the political, economic and social agendas over the last 12+ years with events such as Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Katrina, and Storms Desmond and Imogen, and repeat flooding in the UK hitting the headlines. It is estimated that the 2015 Cumbria floods cost the country more that £1.5 billion, and ‘Building Our Industrial Strategy’ highlights that flood resilient infrastructure is vital to our economic growth.
The Government has committed to spend £2.3 billion by 2021 on improving flood defence and resilience, and we need to ensure that people working across the infrastructure sector are equipped with the right skills to ensure that this investment can be delivered, and that it delivers Flood Resilience and Sustainability outcomes.
The need for the Centre for Flood Risk and Resilience is clear. The Royal Academy of Engineering predicted in 2012 that we will need 830,000 new engineers by 2020 to meet the challenging infrastructure targets. But, these skills challenges are happening now.
A survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and the recruitment firm Matchtech in 2016 also highlighted the flood risk skills gap. The survey of over 830 UK professional engineers and employers across the water industry identified flood risk engineering as having the biggest current shortfall in skills in the water industry and expected it to continue to experience the highest skills shortage in 5-10 years. The survey also identified training and collaboration with universities as key solutions to helping fill the skills gap, and suggested that skills from the energy, maritime and highways industries would be transferable to the water and environment sector.
The project will supplement the FaCE programme with a range of accredited on-line CPD and PG modules as well as STEM learning material co-created with our partners to complete the envisaged skills pipeline that the Centre will offer.
Our expanded curriculum will then stimulate productivity gains in infrastructure development by:
- Reaching a wide potential transferable workforce
- Upgrading the knowledge and skills of the existing workforce
- Expanding the reach of the FaCE Programme
- Removing the constraints of time, place, talent and cost of education in flood risk and resilience through digital learning delivery methods