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Postgrad Queries: How can I find work with a disaster management firm?

Jobs in disaster management

I've just completed a BA in human geography. Throughout my school years, I enjoyed topics about natural disasters, and how humans respond. I was wondering if there are agencies in Britain that deal with disaster management, and what is the best way to get a job with them. Are there any postgraduate courses that will increase my chances of employment?

In terms of further study, your choice is between a general environmental management MSc, which would give you an overview of a broader field and include disaster management, or a more specific course, honing in on your area of interest. Sometimes these will have the word "crisis" or "emergency" in the title. Others include "risk management" which is a much broader area, dealing with offering advice to public and corporate clients on environmental hazards. There are likely to be more work possibilities in this area than in pure disaster management.

There are a growing number of agencies, consultancies, government departments and not-for-profit organisations in the UK dealing with this topic. It is also increasingly popular with graduates from a number of disciplines, so competition for entry-level jobs can be very tough. While, in theory, a Masters degree is not needed, you would increase your chances enormously by taking such a qualification. Start your search at www.findamasters.com.

Relevant work experience, paid or unpaid, is a prerequisite for entry to many jobs and it'll help you get on a Masters course too. Spending some time abroad, maybe with an environmental charity, might help.

Openings in web-based marketing

Having completed a general computer science degree six years ago, I'm rapidly discovering much of what I learnt has become old hat, and I'd like to find a Masters course that would equip me with knowledge and skills to help me get a job over the next decade. I'm particularly interested in web-based marketing. Can you help?

You're aiming at digital marketing, and over the past few years a dozen or so postgraduate courses have been established at British universities. Search at www.ukpass.ac.uk for a list. Some courses lean towards the technical side of web-marketing, while others concentrate more on the core marketing techniques.

Perhaps your employer would allow you to be seconded to a marketing role, or even help with course fees if you can find one in your area? That aside, experience is key. Can you help someone to make their website a more effective tool? Is there a local voluntary organisation or sports club that would appreciate your help with improving their site to attract new members, publicise competitions and so on? Such activity will complement any further education you do, and enhance your career prospects.

Promoting healthy lifestyles

Having spent most of the past two decades teaching English as a foreign language abroad, I've become interested in how employers and public bodies often try to promote healthy lifestyles among workers, and citizens. I'm thinking of returning to the UK to do some postgraduate study that might touch on some of these issues. I have a degree in Russian from Hull University. Any suggestions?

Health-promotion work is open to people from a wide range of subjects including education, although teaching in human biology, nutrition or sports science would be more relevant to such work than your own background. For a detailed description of the work, enter "health promotion specialist" on the "types of jobs" section of the Prospects website (www.prospects.ac.uk/links/ occupations).

There are a number of postgraduate courses in health promotion, varying from full-time to part-time and day release. One area in your favour is your eastern European languages, which could give you opportunities to work on health promotion issues with newly arrived asylum-seekers and immigrants from eastern Europe. You might also try to get involved as a volunteer with a charity that promotes healthy lifestyles, such as the British Heart Foundation (www.bhf.org.uk). That'll help you decide if you'll like the work.

Thanks to Liz Hagger and Gill Sharp, careers consultants for Domino Careers (www.domino careers.co.uk)

Send your queries to Steve McCormack at steve.mcc @virginmedia.com