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 am Director of a terrestrial ecology consultancy. While I started off managing nature reserves and working for a wildlife Non Governmental Organisation, and have spent many years doing fieldwork, much of my work now involves directing the strategy of what we do (the type of ecological consultancy work that we go for), applying my knowledge of survey and impact assessment techniques to monitor and manage the quality of our work, managing and mentoring people, and managing budgets.
What do you most like about your job? Any dislikes?
For my entire career I have felt that I make a positive environmental difference in the work that I do and how I carry it out. It is this sense of purpose and value that I like most about my job. I love passing knowledge on to younger members of the team (and also learning from them). I’m not so keen on budgets.
What inspired you into this career?
I developed an interest in wildlife when I was young, especially through going fishing and then birdwatching. I looked for an opportunity to get into bird-related work and managed to get onto a scheme training people in nature reserve management. This really inspired me to want to make a positive difference.
Have you faced any challenges in progressing your career so far?
Many. The most notable one was when I wanted to do a masters degree to move from practical conservation to policy work. I had to leave my job in conservation to take a temporary job in construction in order to save enough money to pay for my course fees and living expenses. When i moved to Ireland I tried to get a job in environmental work. Because such jobs were limited then, I had to create my own work – which became a consultancy.
What education/training did you have?
I did an HND in Conservation Management first, and since then I have done MScs in European Environmental policy and in Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies.
What advice would you give to someone coming into the profession?
Think carefully about why you want to work in the profession, and what strengths you have. This will help you decide whether you are better suited to education, consultancy, research, NGO work or something else. Then go for it. Don’t hold back on asking for opportunities, and then remind people again that you have asked. Much of the profession is beyond capacity, and people may not have responded to you simply because they haven’t had a chance rather than not being interested in you.