What employment sector do you work in?

Public Sector

How long have you had a green job for nature?

6 years

Salary Range

£25,000 – £30,000

Please describe the work that you do.

Surveying and controlling invasive species like rhododendron. Surveying peatlands for the IUCN Carbon Code Project. Marketing and communication, stakeholder involvement and contract supervision.

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

Basically my job is to walk around the most beautiful woodlands, or mostly untouched peatlands of Scotland. What is not to like about this?!

Well, sometimes you do come across badly damaged peatlands, due to recent construction work. I find it very sad and disappointing after all the different legislation being in place (and being ignored). On the other hand, it is very important to flag these non-compliances and try to prevent them in the future.

What inspired you into this career? 

I enjoy doing practical conservation. I personally prefer working towards tangible achievements over engaging in desk-based research. However, my job relies on it, too and we regularly check the newest articles for building a strong base for us.

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

It is very hard to get into a role that you actually enjoy and get enough salary to keep you going. My biggest difficulty has always been the “how to pay your bills” game.

What do you think has helped you to get into a role that you enjoy?

Education definitely forms a base for any opportunities. My schools taught me to be an all-round ecologist and it means that I can do most of the surveys etc. well. I have done several extra courses, too, specific to my job roles or areas of interest. Still, one needs to learn the local characteristics and I keep learning new things every day. I’ve just recently started learning about drone surveys – the learning never ends.

What is your perspective on what young people can do to access careers with a higher salary?

In my opinion, experience is very important for any higher-grade role. It might be a challenge for somebody just out of university to show several years of this though. Volunteering in the sector of interest is a good idea. It helps with gaining experience, meeting people with similar interests and utilising the things we were taught at school. The rest will come with time, be patient. And most importantly; never give up!

What is your view on how the sector might be changing to support people to progress, are there any initiatives which give you hope?

I have recently applied for a fund especially tailored for women in forestry. It is a training fund and the aim is to help women in our sector to learn and (eventually) earn more. We also have several ongoing apprenticeships and two university students who are learning how forestry works. They have been joining me on site visits about invasive vegetation control and native woodlands. I do believe that the opportunities are there for somebody to be able to join and get more training in a specialist field.

What education/training did you have?

MSc in Ecology
PAWS Surveys (Plantations on Ancient Woodlands Sites)
Bryophytes and Mosses (species identification)
ArcGIS Pro
Small Drone Licence
Professional Photography and Videography
Project Management

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

Do not give up!

Tags: Scotland, Public sector, peatlands, woodlands

Watch a video of Eszter describing her role and the average workday on our YouTube channel here:

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