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.
I am developing the internal infrastructure within the council to prepare for and ensure the effective delivery of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). This involves partnership working with many different professionals within the council e.g. legal, estates, finance, planning, ecology and records teams as well external statutory agencies and eNGOs. I provide internal BNG training as well as support the identification sites for BNG delivery with third party providers and within council owned estates.
What do you most like about your job? Any dislikes?
I love the variety of the role and collaborating with many professionals internally and externally. I enjoy working out how to implement national policy at the local level with excellent support from the managers in my council all of which have a shared vision to improve nature in my county in the future. This role can involve working on legal wording for planning obligations, to meetings regarding habitat banks coming forward, to site visits with UK Hab quadrats of our own landholdings to determine their suitability for BNG. My main current frustration is the delay over the last year in the production of national guidance and regulations on BNG from national government but we hope this will arrive very soon!
What inspired you into this career?
As a child I was always interested in nature from as early as I can remember when a bat flew into my childhood bedroom! My parents were also nature lovers and I was lucky enough to be taken to many nature reserves and wildlife spotting trips as a young person that helped cement my appreciation of nature. At school, I loved both humanities and science but chose to do a Biology degree as it was where my interests lay even though I did better in Geography A-Level! However, during this course I realised that I needed to be outside and collaborating with people rather than being based inside doing repetitive laboratory experiments, hence I took mostly ecology modules and then was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do an MSc in Environmental Science which has elements of both pure science as well as environmental policy.
Have you faced any challenges in progressing your career so far?
The biggest challenge can be keeping your existing skills fresh whilst gaining new ones. It’s important to remember that softer skills are as important as technical ones in many roles. Keeping up with changes in policy and legislation takes work alongside the ‘day-job’. Finding roles that accommodate a good work/life balance in ecology can be a challenge for working parents, although this appears to have improved since I started my career.
What education/training did you have?
I have a BSc in Biology and an MSc In Environmental Impact Assessment, Auditing and Management Systems. However, much of my training has been on the job or through a significant number of CPD courses across a huge range of ecological, policy, legal and planning related topics – many of which I have undertaken in my own time over the last few decades. For me, ecology is a vocation as well as a job!
What advice would you give to someone coming into the profession?
Grasp every opportunity, remembering you can never know it all! Do you want to become a specialist, generalist, project manager or line manger? Do you prefer to be outside, in the office or a mixture? Build a good professional network, join and get involved with your professional institute. Remember, you may need to adapt your career to accommodate family responsibilities and the job that suits you today won’t necessarily be what you will want in the future. Never stop learning and improving!