Environmental
Risk
Management

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David Harkin

Climate Change Scientist (Environmental Risk Management)

I am responsible for the coordination, analysis and reporting of information on climate change impacts, environmental hazards and risks and adaptation for Historic Environment Scotland (HES), working closely with other staff from throughout the organisation and drawing on a number of sources of information including Estate asset information and spatial data from key partners such as the British Geological Survey and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

What are your qualifications?

2:1 - Earth Sciences – University of Glasgow

MSc with Distinction – Geological and Environmental Hazards – Portsmouth University

What sort of organisation do you work for; do you have many colleagues? 

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is the lead public body for Scotland’s historic environment with a vision that it is cherished, understood, shared and enjoyed with pride, by everyone. Part of HES’s mission is to protect, conserve and manage the historic environment for the enjoyment, enrichment and benefit of everyone – now, and in the future.  We are tasked with leading the way in ensuring Scotland’s historic environment makes a strong contribution to the cultural, social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the nation and its people. HES employs 1000 + members of staff, both permanent, and seasonal.

Do you travel within the UK or overseas often? 

My role requires regular travel throughout Scotland, to visit the properties in our care (HES looks after 336 culturally significant monuments, e.g. Edinburgh castle). The role also requires travel to England and Wales, to meet other colleagues in the sector.

Apart from formal qualifications, what other skills or characteristics do you need?

An ability to work well with people, in close knit teams. A flexible approach to work is also necessary, as it is sometimes not a regular 9 to 5, Monday to Friday job. You also need to enjoy what you do to succeed at it.

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

I enjoy that the role I am in now is not one that commonly comes up – my university education allowed me to develop a niche set of skills that I now get to actively use. I feel that the position I am in is also one where I can make a positive difference to something I care about – Scotland’s heritage

What are your shift patterns like for a regular working week?

I have flexible working hours Monday to Friday. However it is not uncommon for longer working days and occasional weekend work for conferences / site visits etc.

What position would you like to hold/where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

I’ve landed my dream job – and I have no plans on moving any time soon

What advice or information do you wish you’d had before starting this career?

I felt well equipped for entering the ‘real’ world after both my studies at Glasgow and Portsmouth. Perhaps it would have been good to know that there is no rush and that sometimes taking your time and waiting for the right position to come up is better than jumping at the first thing.