March 4, 2024

Placement with the Welsh Government – Ankita Bhattacharya

Ankita Bhattacharya

I had the wonderful opportunity to do a 3-month placement from October to December 2023 with the Welsh Government in their water policy team. During this time, I worked closely with water quality and policy experts, gaining invaluable insights into government policymaking. Despite being based in Nottingham, the Welsh Government provided me with the flexibility to work remotely, which proved immensely beneficial to my productivity and work-life balance.

My role was to research on the water quality issues in one of the river catchments in Wales which is notable for high sewage pollution. Among the significant challenges identified was the high phosphorus load affecting the catchment. Several stakeholder departments are actively involved in phosphorus remediation efforts, and my task involved liaising with these departments to compile their actions which would help in policymaking. This involved regular meetings and interaction with experts from Natural Resources Wales, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, Local Planning Authorities and the Nutrient Management Board. These engagements not only deepened my understanding of the subject matter but also sharpened my ability to approach problems from diverse perspectives and enhance my networking skills significantly. Furthermore, I also got a chance to analyse large volumes of water quality data and refine my programming and GIS skills to derive the desired outputs.

At the wastewater treatment facility in West Wales, with experts from Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales

A highlight of my placement was visiting one of Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s wastewater treatment facilities. This was a great opportunity to not only understand the ground operations of the treatment process, data collection and monitoring, but also explore a bit more of the beautiful Welsh Highlands. I completed my placement with a report and presentation which I had shared with the wider water policy team and to all the stakeholder departments. The presentation was received with applause and enthusiastic reception, leaving me deeply gratified by the positive response.

Sewage Treatment Facility of Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

Working on this placement has been a great opportunity that has equipped me with industrial experience, boosted my confidence, and helped me establish professional connections. Being an international student, I got to gain some UK work experience, which I hope would be useful when I finish my PhD. I’m thankful to my supervisors for being super supportive and allowing me to take a break from my PhD and focus on this placement and to Envision DTP for supporting me throughout. Lastly, the Welsh Government has a great workplace environment, with super-helpful people and great facilities. I highly recommend their placement scheme for other doctoral students.