What employment sector do you work in?
How long have you had a green job for nature?
£20,000 – £25,000
Please describe the work that you do.
I have just accepted a position with Echoes Ecology as an assistant ecologist after spending the summer with them as a seasonal bat survey worker. My work currently consisted mainly of bat surveys, but I am also beginning to assist with other field work such as bird surveys and mink raft checks. I am also assisting with desk study research, report set ups, and RAMS.
What do you most like about your job? Any dislikes?
I am only just starting out but I am really enjoying it all, especially the fieldwork. It is really interesting to travel around Scotland and explore the different sites. The possibilities within the role are really exciting and I am really looking forward to developing my knowledge and skills.
I have no dislikes yet, even after the unsociable hours of the bat surveys!
What inspired you into this career?
I used to work in theatre as a stage manager. When Covid hit, that industry collapsed and I had time to reassess my career. For many reasons, I decided to move out of theatre and started to look at what else I could do. I have always had a deep love for the outdoors and a strong interest in the conservation of our world. However, I was not sure what that would mean in terms of a career.
After doing a career advisory questionnaire, the types of job that were suggested were roles like ecology positions and countryside ranger. I started to look at what qualifications I would need. This led me to starting a MSc at SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) in Wildlife and Conservation Management. This is a part-time distance learning course so, as well as studying, I was volunteering with conservation groups and doing any training courses I could to gain practical experience. I was also applying for ranger jobs and was lucky enough in 2021 to get a seasonal position with Clackmannanshire council and this year with Forestry and Land Scotland.
With both ranger positions, the things I enjoyed most were the surveying and conservation aspects. But I thought that I would not be qualified enough to get a position in ecology. This year I managed to get a seasonal position as a bat surveyor. I think this was partly due to the many training courses I had taken part in. I was offered the chance to do some office work and after a couple of months I was offered a full-time position as an assistant ecologist.
Have you faced any challenges in progressing your career so far?
One of the issues has been with my confidence in seeing how my experience from working in theatre is of value. There are many skills which cross over and are important. But actual challenges, no. I have been really lucky with the opportunities that have presented themselves and with the people that I have crossed paths with. People have been really supportive and helpful with their time and advice.
What education/training did you have?
I have deferred my final year for the MSc in Wildlife and Conservation Management. I am looking for a project to do my dissertation on, hopefully something ecology related – any suggestions welcome!
I have undertaken courses with: Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) with Tragus Training, Scottish Badgers, Pondlife, British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), RSBP and National Plant Monitoring Scheme.
In addition to this, I volunteer with a number of groups including some of those mentioned above. This includes conducting surveys with BCT, BTO and Scottish Badgers, and conservation work with TreeLink and Cashel Native Woodland.
What advice would you give to someone coming into the profession?
Take any opportunity you can and talk to people within the industry. Talking to people opened up new opportunities and experiences for me. It also helped me to see the different career paths I could take and what skills I would need.
Volunteering helped me to hone skills and decide what I was interested in. Although it’s not always a practical option for everyone, it gave me the confidence and enthusiasm to apply for jobs within the industry.