What employment sector do you work in?
How long have you had a green job for nature?
Please describe the work that you do.
I have the wonderful privilege of working alongside and help support and develop a talented and passionate team of ecological and arboricultural consultants. I oversee the strategic growth and direction of the company to ensure we provide an outstanding level of service to our clients and help protect and restore biodiversity. Another part of my role is to secure resources that will enable the team to deliver these services, including IT, marketing, sales, H&S advice, logistics and facilities.
What do you most like about your job? Any dislikes?
Over the past twenty-two years I have discovered my love for delivering better results for nature across the public, voluntary and now the private sector. I get to do this by working with a team who are so passionate about what they do and why they do it. I like seeing people grow and develop and be better tomorrow than they are today.
I dislike seeing people being exploited for their enthusiasm. People unfortunately will take advantage of this – mostly unintentionally, but sometimes with selfish intent. We should highlight bad practice to early career individuals and stamp it out.
What inspired you into this career?
I did not immediately begin a career as an ecologist, but what inspired me to do so was the genuine admiration of the natural environment, be that dramatic landscapes, wildlife, food and the great feeling of being outdoors. I just wanted to find a job that would allow me to enjoy the things I found energising and uplifting. I now find inspiration working with people who want to and can make a difference in not only protecting our natural environment, but making positive change for future generations to enjoy. The mission is life-long.
Have you faced any challenges in progressing your career so far?
I have encountered some people who will take advantage and exploit your enthusiasm — I was sent out to sites where I either had very little knowledge or received very little training. Thankfully, I was able to identify this challenge early on in my career so I was able to spot and avoid them later on in my career – unfortunately, many early career ecologists may not.
What education/training did you have?
I started my career with 3 GCSEs and no A-levels and as a mature student, I managed to get to university to study Zoology, finally obtaining a 2:1 degree in 2000.
What enabled me to gain my first job was not really the degree itself, but planning my career. I knew that experience was necessary to develop skills and knowledge so at university I took advantage of a placement (sandwich) year with the Field Studies Council. I also joined the Conservation Society. This put me in front of people whom I could demonstrate my experience to. I have never stopped learning and value curiosity.
What advice would you give to someone coming into the profession?
Plan your career – it does not have to be in great detail and it certainly does not need to be a fixed plan! If an opportunity arises, seize it. By planning, you will know what you need to be looking out for and potentially what to avoid or seek less from. Ask questions and be curious – don’t be put off doing something because you were too afraid to ask. Use LinkedIn or other platforms. Get a mentor! Most importantly, do something every day that you enjoy!