What employment sector do you work in?

Public Sector

How long have you had a green job for nature?

20+ years

Salary Range

£25,001 – £30,000

Please describe the work that you do.

I carry out ecological surveys including water voles, bats, otters and crayfish. I provide ecological advice to internal and external customers. The majority of my work is for the EA (Environment Agency) Flood and Coastal Risk Management teams. I am a consultee on Environment Agency permits and planning applications.

What do you most like about your job? Any dislikes?

Surveying is my favourite part of my role. I enjoy being out in the field, so it’s not all computer work. I enjoy searching for animal poo and working out what it is! Preferably otter or water vole of course! Also carrying out bat and white-clawed crayfish surveys – although not carried out often, it’s great being in the environment and seeing these species.

The abundance of sewage and sewage litter in our rivers is the most disliked part of my role and the negative comments on social media about the Environment Agency.

What inspired you into this career? 

Love of ecology and wanting to improve and protect the environment.

Have you faced any challenges in progressing your career so far? 

I have been supported to progress however I love my job and have no concerns about being in the same role for so long. There is so much to learn and I am currently studying MSc Land and Ecological Restoration (apprenticeship) at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

I would definitely recommend an MSc apprenticeship – the field is rapidly changing and it’s also great to meet and learn from others in the sector. I’ve always felt imposter syndrome and ‘a Jack of all trades master of none’ in my role, even after all these years. The apprenticeship has increased my confidence and although it’s challenging, it’s really interesting. There aren’t many people on the MSc who are part-time working Mums, but I’d like to show it can be done.

What education/training did you have?

I did a BSc in Animal Behaviour and Welfare.

I volunteered with my Local Wildlife Trust and attended many of their training courses on the weekends. I also got my first job in the Environment Agency by taking a temporary admin role through a temping agency. I did this because the EA did not provide voluntary opportunities when I asked. This increased my knowledge of the EA and the work that it did and helped me secure my first role. It is tough getting your first job – don’t give up! I was in the EA for 5 years before securing an ecology role. I was lucky my manager let me gain experience in the team I wanted to be in. There was a lot of competition.

What advice would you give to someone coming into the profession? 

Undertake voluntary work to gain experience, don’t give up if you want a job in the sector.

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