What employment sector do you work in?

Private Sector

How long have you had a green job for nature?

18 Years

Salary Range

> £50,000

Please describe the work that you do. 

I have been a freelance ecological consultant for one year, prior to which I worked in consultancy as an employee. As a freelancer I largely provide project support to other ecological consultancies, for example by joining a team to carry out a bat survey, writing reports such as Environmental Statement chapters, checking reports, and project coordination work. I also find and carry out work for my own clients, such as producing Ecological Enhancements Plans. 

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

Working freelance has enabled me to have the ultimate flexibility as I am only accountable to myself! This means I have been able to do consultancy work 3.5 days a week and use the remaining time to study for a horticulture qualification and do some volunteer work, which I would not have found the time/funding for had I been an employee. When I first moved into freelance work, I was a little worried about how much work would be available and whether it would be all year round. However, I have found so far that there is plenty of work available. 
So far most of my freelance work has been desk-based, so I have been largely working at home and I miss having colleagues to chat to in an office every day. I have used volunteering opportunities to meet new people and have done some survey work to keep my survey skills on point. 

What inspired you into this career?

I always knew I wanted to work with animals and outdoors in some form or another. I initially started my career in some short-term countryside management ranger/warden type posts with the RSPB and Surrey Wildlife Trust. I really enjoyed the practical outdoor element but also realised I wanted a more set career progression path and to work on a variety of projects within a bigger team. In 2004 I got a role as an Assistant Ecologist and have never looked back! I enjoy the variety and problem-solving challenges that consultancy brings, as well as the technical skill element that meshes with the fun survey work and contributes towards delivering good outcomes for biodiversity on developments. 

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

The main challenge I have found is that due to the breadth of survey and technical skills which are required in the industry, it is not possible to get all relevant experience through work and training courses. Sometimes significant amounts of time are needed outside of work to further those skills. While this is always enjoyable and brings a career benefit, it can be difficult to then also find time for hobbies, family, friends etc. Although I chose this career because I find it interesting and enjoyable, I don’t need to live and breathe it – I have other interests too! 

What education/training did you have?

Degree in Zoology 

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

Make the most of local resources and expertise to get relevant experience, for example by joining the local bat group or botanical society. 

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