What employment sector do you work in?
How long have you had a green job for nature?
£40,001 – £50,000
Please describe the work that you do.
I am currently a team leader in the national biodiversity section at the Environment Agency (EA). We work with staff from across the EA as well as external partners to deliver the best outcomes we can for habitats and species in a way that benefits the wider business. This involves developing and embedding policies and processes and supporting this with training, advice and guidance. I manage a team of 7 involved in activities including biodiversity net gain, pollinators and protected species.
What do you most like about your job? Any dislikes?
I am a big-picture person. I like to make connections across the business, joining the dots to create a clear and compelling narrative around the benefits of taking a more ecologically informed approach. The EA is a large and complex organisation so that is more than enough to keep me busy!
I also really enjoying managing people and helping realise their career ambitions and potential.
However, I have traded being out in the field and having a more direct relationship with ecology for career progression and an ability to influence more widely. This doesn’t always feel comfortable and is a tension many ecologists will, I’m sure, recognise.
What inspired you into this career?
I grew up in a family where nature was always front and centre. As soon as I was old enough to walk but still young enough to get under my mum’s feet, I was kicked out the door to accompany my dad on his many birdwatching trips. Apart from a brief flirtation with veterinary science, I don’t honestly remember it occurring to me that I would want to do anything else!
Have you faced any challenges in progressing your career so far?
When I started out, I had many jobs that were temporary and seasonal. They were terrific fun and took me all over the country but were interspersed by gloomy winters doing temp jobs. This increasingly grated with me as I got older and put down roots. I wondered whether I was really getting anywhere at all. I wouldn’t swap the experiences I had during that time, but the associated knock-backs and lack of job security were demoralising at times.
What education/training did you have?
I have a degree in Environmental Life Science, but the greater proportion of my ecological skills have either been self-taught or gained through work experience. The EA takes personal development very seriously and recently supported me in gaining a diploma from the Institute of Leadership and Management.
What advice would you give to someone coming into the profession?
Many of us are driven by a passion to make a difference to the natural environment. There are many ways you can do that but always be guided by that passion. Let it drive you and sustain you (especially in the lean times), and if you persevere it will get you where you need to be.