What employment sector do you work in?
How long have you had a green job for nature?
Please describe the work that you do.
I run the Southeast ecology team for a large multi-disciplinary consultancy. We deliver projects from small works to utilities sites up to new power stations, large commercial and residential developments, and road and rail schemes.
My job involves managing staff, winning work, technical input, and financial management. I do still get to do site surveys but not as often as I used to!
What do you most like about your job? Any dislikes?
I love being able to see the great projects I have had a small part in delivering. Seeing mature ponds that I saw dug, trees growing that we got added into designs, and well-designed open spaces that we had a hand in creating is a great feeling.
I also love seeing colleagues develop and progress, and when they are inspired by what they do.
What inspired you into this career?
A family friend was an ecologist and I thought his day-to-day work sounded amazing! I also wanted a job that could make a difference, and I am interested in construction – this seemed like a perfect fit.
Have you faced any challenges in progressing your career so far?
I graduated into the last recession, and jobs (of any sort) were hard to come by. My first ecology job was mainly driving a van, but it is amazing how much you can still learn when around knowledgeable colleagues (in hotels, in the car and the office) and I was able to continue getting seasonal and short contract ecology work until positions became available again.
What education/training did you have?
I have a degree in Biology (focus on Biodiversity and Conservation) from the University of Sheffield, I have a suite of on-the-job training and have done courses to get a bat license, health and safety, etc.
What advice would you give to someone coming into the profession?
– Make the most of opportunities to learn from colleagues.
– Remember the bigger picture – ecologists often get bogged down in minutiae and forget what we are trying to achieve.
– A client that understands we are on the same side as them is easier to get a better outcome with.
– Soft skills are as important as the ecology focused skills – it doesn’t matter how good quality your survey was if you can’t communicate it!