What employment sector do you work in?
How long have you had a green job for nature?
£25,001 – £30,000
Please describe the work that you do.
Primarily protected species surveys (bats/dormice) and professional bird surveys for commercial developments, but also for NGOs such as BTO, Wildlife Trusts. Also, for NRW (Natural Resources Wales) at a local level.
One Planet Developments are a Welsh Government planning category that supports a form of smallholding enabling people to live on land outside of designated planning areas for housing if they live 75% off the land (to put it simply).
What do you most like about your job? Any dislikes?
Main pros: Getting paid to watch and learn about wildlife. Making a small contribution to the protection and conservation of protected species by designing mitigation. Contributing to the knowledge base. The freedom and independence of self-employment – being in charge of my own time and defining my own workload.
Main cons: Dealing with hostile clients. Working with unprofessional ‘professionals’. The challenge of carving out time for personal interests within the main survey season. The lack of informal professional support. The high level of organisation I have to maintain on a permanent basis.
What inspired you into this career?
My inspiration was my early passion for natural history – principally ornithology. My route into consultancy was one of necessity and serendipity – ‘discovering’ bats and then the potential to have a full time job forever learning about them and other interesting protected species, as well as finally being paid for my ornithological skillset as and when opportunities arise.
Have you faced any challenges in progressing your career so far?
I have never had an official interview in my life! All my work contracts up until self-employment were obtained through word of mouth, personal contacts and based on my ornithological field skills. My degree only helped as a box tick for my later work.
The development of my business in the way I would like has not been possible, due to the absence of an appropriate apprenticeship. It appears to me to be a massive step from being a sole trader to an employer, which feels too large to take without support. I believe the above would help ease me into this.
What education/training did you have?
Years of amateur ornithological work before a BSc in Applied Ecology; including specialist vocational qualifications (bird ringing permit, bat and dormouse licences, various Schedule 1 bird disturbance licences).
What advice would you give to someone coming into the profession?
Get in lots of survey experience prior to entering the employment market.
Specialise in a field where there is a skills shortage.