What employment sector do you work in?
How long have you had a green job for nature?
£20,000 – £25,000
Please describe the work that you do.
My work is diverse, and the usual workday will change considerably depending on the time of the year. During summer, I’m usually out in the field conducting species surveys (Pollinators, reptiles, bats, dormice) or evaluating habitats. Once these have gone to hibernate, so do ecologists and we tend to focus more on office work. An office day can include anything from analysing bat data, using QGIS to draw up plans, helping clients achieve a 10% Biodiversity Net Gain, proposing mitigation, etc.
What do you most like about your job? Any dislikes?
The thing I like the most about this job is that no two days are the same. You’re always doing different things and getting a wide array of projects. I also really enjoy the mix between outdoors and office work. Something that can also be a little frustrating is the same thing, no two days are the same so it is very hard to get into a routine or have a social life, especially during the summer and your sleep patterns will suffer some of the consequences.
What inspired you into this career?
I have always been curious about insects and their interactions, I read a lot about them and spend hours looking at them, and when I found out you could get paid for it, it was a no-brainer.
I started out doing research and I always thought I’d end up having an academic position. However, after my MSc, I decided to take a break before studying for a PhD and ‘discovered’ the world of consultancy. At first, I was reluctant because it wasn’t research, but I really enjoy it, you’re constantly learning, and it’s quite interesting to be involved with a site from beginning to end. Also, developments will happen, but it’s up to us to ensure that surveys are carried out properly and that mitigation or enhancements are ecologically accurate to ensure the best outcome for habitats/species. In short, you can apply your knowledge/passion for nature and make a visible difference.
Have you faced any challenges in progressing your career so far?
Yes, the main one is that these types of careers are still quite biased towards privileged people. Firstly, you probably won’t get hired if you don’t have a car. Second, to get some experience, you’re very likely to have to volunteer, which not many people can afford to do. Sometimes I have received some racist comments because I’m not English, but most of the sector is very friendly and welcoming. We still need to work to make it more inclusive, because a society, like an ecosystem, is better with diversity.
What education/training did you have?
BSc Biology (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
MSc Evolutionary & Behavioural Ecology (University of Exeter)
PgCert Beekeeping (EUROINNOVA)
Other continuous professional development courses such as Wildlife handling and monitoring, R programming, and Scientific conferences related to my areas of interest.
What advice would you give to someone coming into the profession?
Think about what you’re most passionate about. As biologists/ecologists, we can work in a lot of different job roles. What do you want to do on a daily basis? What do you think would make you happier? Now based on your answer look up some job adverts and see what recruiters are looking for, get experience on that (whilst still at university preferably), because you can always learn skills on the job but if you have experience, you’re already ahead of the game.
Tags: England, ecology