Andrew Woodliffe - Divisional Director
What made you join WA? At a crossroads in my career, I was looking for a fresh challenge and WA gave me the opportunity to come in and head up the Water Sector. Having undertaken a secondment before in a previous role and with a desire to work more collaboratively with our clients I saw it as an ideal role for me.
What secondments have been most interesting and why? Due to my role leading on the development of our Water Sector I have spent a limited amount on time secondment whilst at WA, however I look back fondly on my first secondment at Nottingham City Council. As part of this secondment I led on the drainage design for a section of the Daleside Road Bus Lane Improvements Scheme, working closely with internal clients, the contractor, sub-contractors and key stakeholders. Whilst at Nottingham City Council I also designed the drainage for New Popham Street in central Nottingham, including the design of the drainage network using MicroDrainage and liaison with Severn Trent Water to obtain agreements for discharge into the existing sewer network. Both schemes have since been constructed and it is good to drive past them on a regular basis.
As part of my current secondment to the Environment Agency, I am providing support as a Senior User to the Asset Performance Team assisting with the delivery of the Asset Recovery Programme, focusing on a number of schemes in Shropshire. This role involves working alongside the Environment Agency’s appointed consultants and contractors on the Collaborative Delivery Framework as well as internal colleagues at the Environment Agency and other key stakeholders.
What are the best aspects of working for WA? For me the best thing about working for WA is the opportunities that we give to our employees and the difference we can help them make to our clients. Our unique business model allows us to deliver consultancy support in a different way.
Why would you recommend working for WA? WA gives you the opportunity to make a difference and also enables you to be the master of your own destiny, whether you need support in developing your career, want assistance in fulfilling your chartership aspirations or just want to do something different – we appeal to employees at all stages of their career. For those seeking managerial experience, there are also opportunities for employees to join our management team, helping shape the future of our business and the industry.
Marc Stedman - Technical Director
What made you join WA? I was looking for a new challenge and having worked on secondments previously I understood the model and benefits of being on secondment. Also, I had worked alongside WA staff a few years ago and I knew that person was still at WA, so I reached out to him for a conversation about WA and as they say, the rest is history.
What secondments have been most interesting and why? I have been lucky to have worked on some great projects with market leading Clients such as Royal HaskoningDHV (RHDHV) and Atkins. However, my current secondment has really taken me out of my comfort zone by working with Warwickshire County Council project managing a strategic level project. It is not directly Water related but working in a collaborative organisation I have been able to utilise my transferable project management skills in another sector. The team I work with are very inclusive and determined to deliver a quality project for their end users – the general public.
What are the best aspects of working for WA? Since I joined 2 years ago we have substantially frown the Water business developing new Clients in new Areas. I have been charged with helping this in the North of the UK which has given me exposure to the wider business. I always find that whomever I interact with are positive. For me during the pandemic this has been a real bonus and something I have really enjoyed.
Why would you recommend working for WA? You have the opportunity to grow and gain invaluable experience in a supportive and collaborative professional environment.
Josh Wilce - Associate Director
What made you join WA? Having worked predominantly within flood risk and drainage for a local authority, the chance to branch out and be part of a new water team to grow and develop business nationally was a big appeal. As an Area manager, the appeal of the split between secondment technical work and business and staff management was an important factor for me moving. Further factors also included the flexibility of work, the benefits package, including the choice of a new company car as well as the family collective environment.
What secondments have been most interesting and why? I am currently seconded to Kier highways with Area 7, and I am really enjoying The diversity of work. I currently work within a team of 6, most of which are WA Secondees undertaking schemes that range from feasibility right through to detailed design. I have been lucky enough to undertake a number of pioneering pollution reduction schemes that use vegetative and revolutionary new techniques to reduce pollution from road runoff. This is a big topic on agendas at the moment and I am proud to be involved in the early stages of reducing this issue.
What are the best aspects of working for WA? I think the best aspects for working for WA include, the flexibility of work to suit all elements of the discipline of water. As a collective business nationally, it caters for people’s requirements in terms of being located close to home. The training programme and professional qualifications route allow staff to progress constantly within their career and the business. Hard work is recognised and praised which is something that all to often gets overlooked in the wider industry and the best point for me is it’s fun! The work is exciting and challenging and working within a great team gives you the sense of being proud of who you work for.
Why would you recommend working for WA? If you (like me) want to make the best decision for your career, join WA, the flexibility of work, friendliness and benefits the company can offer are second to none.
Kerry Foster - Technical Director
What made you join WA? A number of reasons, most of which echo the rest of the team’s to be honest. I was introduced to WA through a mutual contact, they suggested WA seemed to offer everything (and more) that I was looking for in my next career steps. I was attracted by the unique business model and their obvious and genuine commitment to career development and training of all staff. I was also looking for somewhere that I could continue with my technical work, whilst also contributing the growth of a business as well as being able to use my management skills (project and people), WA provided this opportunity.
What secondments have been most interesting and why? I am excited to be starting my first secondment very soon. This will be at the Environment Agency working as a project manager as part of their Programme and Contract Management team managing the delivery of medium to high risk multi-disciplinary projects across the Eastern Delivery Hub. Reducing flood risk has always been a passion of mine and at the forefront of my career, so I very much welcome the opportunity to be directly involved in the Environment Agency’s future programme of works which will ultimately reduce flood risk across the UK.
What are the best aspects of working for WA? In the short time that I have been with WA so far I can honestly say that I have felt warmly welcomed by not only the immediate Water team, but by the whole of WA, including the MD, who took time out of his busy schedule to phone me up and welcome me on board. I have been made to feel part of the team from even before I started, which just highlights the strengths the company has in communication. I have also noticed there is a genuine care and interest for everyone in the team, whether from a technical, professional or personal level and everyone goes out of their way to support individuals.
Why would you recommend working for WA? For all the reasons I have highlighted above. The opportunities offered, the flexibility, the genuine interest in career development and training. There aren’t many (if any) places who could honestly say they offer all of that and more.
John Parkin - Associate Director
What made you join WA? Needing a fresh challenge in my career, I was looking for an opportunity where I could continue to deliver projects and drive best practice, but also grow a regional business. Brought in as the lead for the West Midlands and South West, WA gave me the opportunity to utilise my industry contacts, forge new relationships and develop the Water sector. Having been on a number of secondments personally throughout my career, it is clear to me that clients are increasingly looking for resources and support in this manner, and WA have a unique solution to this industry need.
What secondments have been most interesting and why? My first secondment role was as a Flood Risk Management Consultant for Warwickshire County Council Lead Local Flood Authority to develop a pipeline of capital FCRM projects. This was fulfilling as I was contributing to national targets and assisting Warwickshire to deliver on the objectives of their Surface Water Management Plan. My current secondment is with the Environment Agency Collaborative Delivery Community (CDC) where I am shaping, managing and delivering the next six year Capital Investment Programme for Flood Risk Management in the Midlands (Shropshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire). I will also be supporting other Risk Management Authorities with the delivery of their own programmes. This is particularly exciting as I will be able to further develop and deliver schemes that I have previously worked on during my career and it will be great to see these on the ground and benefits realised.
What are the best aspects of working for WA? In short I would say the breath of opportunities and the team spirit. Working for WA allows me to develop my team and their career progression through a wide range of roles and positions. It is also a breath of fresh air to see how seriously WA take training and development, and I genuinely have the ability to proactively develop my team. Using either our extensive in-house training courses delivered by a wide range of water industry technical experts, or via external courses run by specialist providers, I can upskill staff and facilitate their professional development. As a company, I have found that there is a real sense of a ‘one WA team’ and it has been encouraging to see the strong cross-sector relationships, and the positive outlook everyone has. It really is a forward thinking and fun place to work!
Why would you recommend working for WA? The variety of experience that a career at WA is able to offer is unrivalled in our industry, and this is likely to fulfil professional development and chartership requirements at an accelerated pace. Working for WA provides the best of both worlds – the variety and flexibility of undertaking secondments and making a difference right in heart of client offices, yet the security of a full time salaried position with a dedicated training programme, regular social events and team building, a competitive salary and a wide benefits package. Whether you are just starting your career or looking to join the management team and shape the business and industry, a career at WA is likely to provide you with the opportunities that you are looking for.
James Trafford - Area Manager
What made you join WA? I was looking for a career change and I knew the Regional Director for Water and asked him if there were any opportunities for me and if he could give me an overview of the Organisation. I had an informal chat and it sounded a really positive company to work for with a diverse range of secondments available. This along with time allowed to network, build relationships, develop business and interview prospective staff members, it was just what I was looking for.
What secondments have been most interesting and why?
I’m currently seconded to the Environment Agency where I provide support to the National Future Investment and Strategy (FIS) Portfolio Manager. The FIS Portfolio leads how the EA brings partners together to manage flooding and Flood & Coastal Risk Management (FCRM) contribution to cross-cutting initiatives such as place making and catchment planning. I provide specialist advice and knowledge to shape, inform and deliver FCRM outcomes and stakeholder agendas to secure positive outcomes for people and wildlife.
Previously I was seconded to Staffordshire County Council’s Flood Risk Management Team where I assessed planning applications in relation to flood risk from several Local Planning Authorities within the Staffs County Region. I liaised with Stakeholders to ensure flood risk issues were understood and provided solutions to ensure flood risk is not increased within the individual planning application boundaries or to off-site areas. I provided advice on Sustainable Drainage Solutions (SuDS) proposals to be included in surface water drainage strategies and designs, and support and advice to team members regarding flooding issues in their catchments either directly or during regular team meetings. My previous secondment was to HS2 providing flood risk input along the route, identifying opportunities to overcome and improve flood risk issues through various suggested options which all feeds into an overall Environmental Statement. This has given me a great opportunity to liaise with a diverse range of stakeholders where I’ve been able to renew acquaintances with a number of people I’ve previously worked with, also, to understand the enormity of working on such a prestigious project has provided me with a great learning experience which I can take to other roles.
What are the best aspects of working for WA? A very positive management team making me feel welcome, supported, valued and that we’re all pulling in the same direction as one big happy family. Being allowed the flexibility to identify and pursue opportunities for business development, interviewing prospective staff and mentoring staff through their personal development plans towards their career goals. There are plenty of social events allowing everyone to relax and enjoy each others company in non-work environments helps build a positive team ethic.
Would you recommend working for WA? Working for WA has had a really positive impact on my working life and this has enhanced my home life through a healthy work life balance so I would recommend working for WA to anyone and often do!
Harvey Speed - Area Manager
What made you join WA? Shortly after graduating from university, I attended a WA recruitment day in Birmingham. I really liked the concept of secondment work as it would allow me to gain experience in different organisations and aspects of work, which I feel is highly beneficial for graduates. The day was such a success, that I was verbally offered a job with them on the day.
What secondments have been most interesting and why? I really enjoyed my secondment to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s Flood Risk Management and Drainage team and the projects I was exposed to. Most of my time was dedicated to delivering the Highway Drainage Works programme, which itself provided high job satisfaction through fixing long-standing drainage problems. It was great speaking to delighted local residents after the works and often hearing how long the issues had blighted their streets. I was engaged in consultation requests from the Council’s Planning Service, which meant I was able to offer input on some major infrastructure developments, ensuring they complied with local and national flood risk policies. Furthermore, with HS2 passing through the Borough, I was involved in the consultation of the proposals, ensuring existing drainage issues were considered and addressed as part of the works.
My secondment to Coventry City Council has further exposed me to the business side of flood risk management. I have lead on a number of successful bids for Flood Defence Grant in Aid funding from the Environment Agency and been engaged in the development of business cases for pre-application charging, new permanent staff members and a commuted sums policy.
What are the best aspects of working for WA? Career development and training is a fundamental component of the WA business model. Developing your skills and qualifications is mutually beneficial for both the employee and WA, as a better service and experience can be provided to clients. Career progression is generally quicker because employees are not pigeonholed into roles for extensive periods resulting a greater exposure to a variety of work and clients. There is good social calendar, culminating in the annual Christmas party in which employees and their plus ones, are well looked after!
Why would you recommend working for WA? Your career in your hands. WA work with a wide range of clients across a range of sectors so you can be exposed to a variety of projects. This is excellent for developing a broad industry knowledge. If you express interest in working in a particular client, field of work or geographic area, efforts are made to best to facilitate your aspirations. Salaries are extremely competitive and often exceed the industry average.
Michael Thomas - Area Manager
What made you join WA? My previous two employers had been very large organisations and the size and feel of WA was really appealing. The family atmosphere and the offering of training and support was a big draw for me as it is allowing me to drive my own career. The opportunity to join the management team means that I have extra responsibilities my previous employers couldn’t offer and it means I feel responsible for helping to drive the business.
What secondments have been most interesting and why? I really enjoying my secondment to Warwickshire County Council working within their Flood Risk Management and Drainage team. I am responsible for managing and delivering their capital programme. This includes producing Outline Business Cases (OBCs), gaining financial approvals, seeking funding contributions and working with contractors to deliver the schemes. The satisfying part of the role is knowing that you are significantly reducing flood risk to residents within the county who have previously been devastated by flooding.
I am also looking at the pipeline and where this can be strengthened with new capital projects for the next funding period.
What are the best aspects of working for WA? Flexible working that works for everyone. WA will never place a candidate into a role that isn’t right for the individual or the client. As the company has so many different technical specialists the opportunities for bespoke training and career development are unrivalled. The constant access to this community is something that is really useful and helps you develop your technical and personal skills. The relatively small management structure means that career development within WA is very clear and swift.
Why would you recommend working for WA? The strong client relationships that WA have formed over here many years means that there are so many opportunities for our staff. This means that we are flexible in our approach and can find the right role at the right time for you. We offer bespoke training based on what the individual is interested in and where they want to go with their career. The company genuinely has a family feel to it, when you join you receive a welcome hamper, they buy your partner a birthday present every year, your line manager will catch up with you regularly, the Christmas party is all paid for including a plus one. These are just a few examples of WA creating that family atmosphere and adding those personal touches you just don’t get with other companies.
Scott Cowan - Area Manager
What made you join WA? I had been working away for several years and wanted a job where I could be based locally and nearer to home. WA really appealed to me because it offered a mix of secondments to a variety of organisations which I felt would expand my skillset and challenge me to move forward in my career. After an initial discussion with the Regional Director I felt confident that the company would be a good fit for me – the team were friendly and welcoming and the company itself was extremely professional and well-managed. WA offers a unique solution in terms of providing high quality staff to support the water industry and I’m proud to be part of the team.
What secondments have been most interesting and why? I am currently seconded into the Environment Agency as a Senior Project Manager working on the refurbishment programme of the North West assets. This role utilises my construction knowledge, project management skills and technical understanding of working on flood risk assets. I am thoroughly enjoying my role and I have quickly integrated well with the client and become part of a successful delivery team.
What are the best aspects of working for WA? The variety of roles with great clients opens up exciting opportunities to become involved with teams, which will not only benefit from having you, but develop you as an individual. The genuine support from the management team and other WA members is testament to how well this organisation is run.
Why would you recommend working for WA? WA want the best for their employees. They want to work in developing you as an individual and ensure you are fulfilling your potential, placing you with a client which will work to your strengths but at the same time challenge you. The opportunity and assistance to develop through professional institutions are available with a number of chartered WA members keen to help you meet your goals. The WA team warmly welcomes new members and you will, very quickly, feel you made the right career move!
What made you join WA? Having reached a point in my career where my personal aspirations had exceeded my previous role, it was time for a fresh and exciting challenge. I was seeking a senior management / regional role where I could work autonomously but also influence the strategic direction of a business. Career development initiatives at WA were also appealing as well as having the opportunity to coach more junior members of the team. Taking on the role of Area Manager within the Midlands Water team has given me the perfect leverage to build on existing stakeholder relationships as well developing new ones and making the best use of my expertise and knowledge within the Water sector. A large portion of my career experience has been through Secondments and so the business model at WA is naturally a very good fit for me, in that I am able to work on projects that I thrive on, within a client setting, whilst growing the water business regionally.
What secondments have been most interesting and why? At Birmingham Airport where I was seconded as an Airfield Programme Manager, I found it really interesting to deliver a strategic multi-disciplinary programme of work ranging from civil engineering to buildings / mechanical upgrades to the supply of electric vehicles to makes the airport more environmentally friendly contributing to the net zero strategic targets by 2033. Also, I really enjoyed the fact that I was helping to prioritise a £0.5 billion programme of work over a 10-year programme through intense stakeholder engagement with the heads of departments and strategic leads. I could also look out of the window to watch planes take off and land when I needed to rest my eyes from the computer monitor, which was nice! In my current role I am working with the Environment Agency providing PM support to many key flood defence type projects as well as the maintenance of existing assets and strategic water resources planning ensuring that water in the north, south and west can be transferred to the Lincolnshire area. It’s great to know that what I am working on will make a positive difference to a large community either protecting them from flooding or from the risk of drought.
What are the best aspects of working for WA? The best part for me is the people that I work with. It feels more like family than colleagues which is extremely refreshing. Colleagues are keen to offer support where they can and you can get to know many people quite quickly and not get lost in the organisation as can be the case in other parts of the industry. There is a fairly flat organisational structure which strongly aids the company dynamics for collaboration and engagement. Whilst everyone works hard, I like the effort that goes into maintaining social events to ensure that we also have lots of fun along the way.
Why would you recommend working for WA? I would recommend working for WA because you are given autonomy, responsibility, strongly encouraged to continuously learn and develop (regardless of seniority) whilst been given the trust to work flexibly around life. I find that another major bonus is the genuine family atmosphere, we all work together as a team to deliver whilst having fun. WA is modern thinking professional company and I am extremely enthused when thinking about my future here.
What made you join WA? Having worked at the Environment Agency for just over 13 years, I felt it was time for me to gain some new experiences elsewhere in the sector. Having predominantly worked within in a fluvial flood risk setting, I really wanted to gain some new experiences working in different settings to that which I had been used to. What really appealed to me when I discovered Waterman Aspen was the possibility of the varied and diverse secondments that I would open myself up to. Following an initial discussion with one of the Technical Directors I realised that Waterman Aspen would be a great fit for me. I joined in January 2021 and everyone has been extremely supportive, and I am very much looking forward to what the future may bring.
What secondments have been most interesting and why? I am currently placed on my first secondment with Shropshire Council, working within their Flood and Water Management Team. The most interesting aspect of this secondment is simply experiencing a different side to the flood risk setting that I was used to at the Environment Agency. I am gaining invaluable knowledge and experience of surface-water flood risk management, SuDS and highway drainage practices, which is really helping me to build on my existing skills and knowledge in the water sector.
What are the best aspects of working for WA? I would say that the best aspects of working for Waterman Aspen are firstly, the supportive and great family feel that there is to the company. From the very first day you feel part of the team and I really do get a sense of supportiveness from everyone I have met so far. The other great aspect has to be the variety of opportunities available to grow your career and network through secondments with such a wide range of clients.
Why would you recommend working for WA? Working for Waterman Aspen you will be working with some amazing professionals, and for a company that has a fantastic vision for the future. The Water team that I work in is growing rapidly and it’s such an exciting time to be part of that experience. I have also been given lots of support on my CIWEM application and staff development is clearly a very important part of Waterman Aspen’s ambitions.
What made you join WA? I really respect the culture WA seems to embody, there is a lot of trust and I really value that in an employer.
What secondments have been most interesting and why? I am currently seconded into the Environment Agency, developing the Flood Risk Management plans for the HNL region and I am keen to develop links with the Local Authorities as I have previous experience working in Croydon Council.
What are the best aspects of working for WA? I really like the flexibility, freedom and trust. Kerry and I have a good working relationship and we both appreciate all the hard work we are doing within the EA. I am excited to expand the team within the South.
Why would you recommend working for WA? It’s a really refreshing environment to work in.
What made you join WA? I was feeling stagnant in my existing role and was attracted by WA’s unique secondment model as their wide client base brings about a variety of opportunities that I am looking forward to utilising to broaden and build on my previous experiences in the water industry. Being part of the management team was another huge incentive for joining WA, which offers the opportunity to gain new experiences on interesting secondments whilst supplemented with experiences developing the business and having the support of an experienced technical team.
What secondments have been most interesting and why? I have recently started a secondment role with Systra as a Senior Engineer working on the HS2 scheme. Whilst I am still learning all the different aspects of this exciting new role, my general responsibilities will be to aid the River Modelling department with preparing design modification documents and helping optimise solutions surrounding watercourses near the proposed HS2 route. I have already gained new skills by learning to use new software packages and met a range of designers and modellers.
What are the best aspects of working for WA? Everybody I have spoken to at Waterman Aspen have been friendly and welcoming. There is a family culture with a genuine caring nature that filters through all levels of the company. There is an “in it together” ethos and positive approach to work that is really uplifting and motivating to be a part of.
Why would you recommend working for WA? You will have access to a range of opportunities so you can work towards gaining experience in your ideal role whilst having the support of the management team. If you are looking for a change and want to join a company who is big enough to offer great client links but small enough to care about an individuals career progress, then I would definitely recommend WA!