What employment sector do you work in?
How long have you had a green job for nature?
£30,001 – £40,000
Please describe the work that you do.
My work ultimately comprises assessing the impacts of development on biodiversity in a holistic way, and designing appropriate and practical mitigation and enhancements to achieve the best outcome for ecology, the natural environment and society as a whole. This includes plenty of time spent in the countryside surveying for habitats and species!
What do you most like about your job? Any dislikes?
I count myself very lucky to be someone who loves my job, although that’s not to say it isn’t challenging and stressful at times. The main thing I love is the variety – every day is different, whether that’s due to the type of survey I’m doing, the location I’m surveying in, the type of report I’m writing or the nature of the projects I’m working on. However, it can get tiring towards the end of the survey season after months of erratic working hours and deadlines looming.
What inspired you into this career?
I have always loved animals, but I knew I didn’t want to be a vet and I also didn’t want to live abroad working in international conservation which seemed to be the only vaguely related jobs advertised to me when I was at school. I studied Biological Sciences at university, but still didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I graduated. I landed in ecology following a series of work experience placements and found that it was the perfect balance of outdoor, practical working combined with scientific reporting, analysis and critical thinking.
Have you faced any challenges in progressing your career so far?
I found trying to break into the sector quite challenging. Even with a good degree and plenty of volunteering experience, it took about nine months of job applications before I secured a temporary full-time role, followed by another few months of uncertainty before being made permanent. I hope that the demand for ecologists combined with a better understanding of the barriers to entry now mean that this wouldn’t be quite so tough.
What education/training did you have?
I got a First Class in Biological Sciences BSc (Hons) from the University of Birmingham. Following that I did a variety of work experience placements, including zoo-keeping and animal behaviour research then ecology placements with my local Wildlife Trust and Biological Records Centre. I continued volunteering with local wildlife groups following these placements in order to support job applications (as well as for my own enjoyment!).
What advice would you give to someone coming into the profession?
Try and get as much experience as you are able to in a way that suits you. If financial or other time commitments prevent you from regular volunteering, then try and find other ways to demonstrate your passion for ecology. For example, using free resources, online webinars or apps, and practicing species ID while you’re out and about.