Brigid Flood, Bachelor of Science (BSc) Environmental Management (Online)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is at the front line of environmental protection and policing, responsible for protecting Ireland’s environment, monitoring changes and detecting early warning signs of neglect or deterioration. Given the wide remit of the organisation, the EPA offers careers opportunities across a broad spectrum of disciplines from science and research to policy and enforcement.

Based in Wexford, Brigid Flood is a Programme Officer in the Office of Evidence & Assessment at the EPA. After second level education, Brigid completed a post leaving certificate course and began working in administrative support roles, building up a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the operations of the EPA.

Given the emphasis on climate change and environmental protection, there is industry lead demand for qualified scientific & technical environmental managers. Motivated by the desire to progress in her career, Brigid began researching third level courses that would build on her career experience and give her the qualifications needed to move into a scientific or technical role.
The option to study online was hugely attractive. Working full-time and juggling family commitments meant that on-campus education or additional time travelling to and from lectures wasn’t feasible. Colleagues within the EPA had previously studied with IT Sligo Online, giving her the confidence to take the next step and sign up for the bachelor’s degree in environmental management.

The BSc in Environmental Management offers modules that are extremely relevant to the work carried out at the EPA, from Environmental Legislation, Heritage Management, and Drinking Water Treatment to Energy Use and Sustainability. As an employer, the EPA encourage staff to undertake further training & development, helping staff upskill in the latest research and teaching on Environmental Protection.

In terms of the learning experience, Brigid particularly enjoyed the blended delivery of the programme. Lectures were delivered online live in the evenings and each Semester a workshop was arranged in an accessible location. Field trips to facilities like Water Treatment Plants enabled students to gain practical experience, whilst also meeting & interacting with fellow students and lecturers. Group assignments further fostered the sense of community and helped build up a support network. At the end of each semester Brigid was able to attend an Exam centre in Dublin.
As well as academic learning, attending third level education for the first time, brought with it some unexpected benefits. Researching and investigating specific topics has provided lifelong learning skills that are transferable across all professions. In terms of personal development, completing the course gave Brigid a great sense of achievement and confidence boost.
When asked if Brigid had any advice for anyone considering studying online – “Definitely go for it! The best thing to do is keep up with the lectures as they are happening, if you can. Work at your own pace. The study is very doable. Yes, it is hard work, but there are very positive outcomes and graduating is a great experience.”

Brigid graduated from the 2-year part-time Level 7 Degree in Environmental Management and is aiming to progress on to the Level 8 Honours degree, once she is ready to take on a new challenge.