The Institution of Civil Engineers has joined forces with government agencies in a drive to attract more workers to flood and coastal defence engineering.

The joint initiative from the ICE, the Environment Agency and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs comes amid fears that skills shortages in the sector could hamper Britain’s attempts to upgrade its flood defences.

The initiative, entitled Action on Engineering Skills Shortages in Flood Risk Management, is a response to an ICE report, and follows the flooding of the Cornish village of Boscastle last August.

The plans are aimed at school leavers and recent graduates. They include:

  • Providing vacation work experience and sandwich course placements
  • Improving the provision of postgraduate education in flood management
  • Promoting skills development in the workplace.

The ICE will set up a system to assess and record the quality of work placements.

Jon Prichard, the ICE’s director of engineering, said: “Finding sufficient good quality engineers to address the skills shortage in flood risk management is essential. The ICE is keen to work with all employers to ensure that the development needs and aspirations of these candidates are met.”