Acorn Ecology Training course, ecology training

The end of another Certificate Course

Since the graduation of the 2018 Certificate Course group a couple of weeks ago we have been busily getting ready for the 2019 course. Here Sally takes a look back at this year and reflects on what we will do for the upcoming 2019 course!

As we turn off the lights and close the door on the 2018 Certificate course, what have we learnt?

Every year, we welcome up to 30 students into our Certificate course and watch as they learn and grow through their time on the course. It’s a joy to watch and we get really attached to our students! “Whatever happened to insert name here?” is regularly asked as we fondly look back on memories from previous years.

Sally Blower, Acorn Ecology ExeterWandering around the training website we are reminded of cohorts from years gone by: students who are now colleagues; students who are now tutors; students who have gone on to become senior ecologists scattered around the country and students whose life took them somewhere else, no longer ecology related.

This year our group was as varied as always. The prize for the furthest travelled was a dead heat between Stirling and County Kerry, 450 miles each way! We had a mother and daughter team, and a mum with a six month old baby at home. We had a pair of colleagues who completely independently signed up to the course. We had students just out of university, those who’d been self employed for 20 years and everything in between.

As a training provider, we make notes throughout the year on things that have gone well, and things that need to change before we go again. We listen to feedback given, both directly on our feedback forms given out at the end of every course, and indirectly from comments made in conversation. We love hearing when courses have gone well, but also take on board when there are adjustments required. We tweak course content and make updates in line with new legislation – if it’s being used in the office, it’s used in the course.

In November, on the last day of the Certificate course, we all gather in Exeter for the exam and the graduation celebration but we also take time to revisit the goals set in the first week of the course, all the way back in April. Taking time to consider what has been achieved is massively important and something that many of us forget to do. Do you fall into the ‘OMG, where has the year gone, what have I been doing with my year?!’ camp or are you able to say ‘Wow, look how much I’ve achieved and it’s only October!’ Planning gives form to goals, reflection validates the actions.

Planning a new career or preparing for the 2019 training season all requires planning and reflection. There is no point continuing when things are not working. Each year we try out new courses to make sure we keep options open for our students. Some courses come and go as we change and update them and work out what our students want. If there’s a course you’d like to see, we’re always open to suggestions!

2019 will be our 10th year running the Certificate course, so I think we can conclude that we are doing something right! We have nurtured over 200 students through this course alone and in 2019 will reach 250 Certificate students! That’s a fairly exclusive gang to be part of, and I hope that all those students look back on the courses and cohorts as fondly as we do.

Now then, where are my 2019 notes?!

The 2019 Certificat Course in Ecological Consultancy is open for bookings! Take a look for how to sign up.

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Acorn Ecology Training

Acorn Ecology is one of the top providers of ecological consultancy courses in the UK. We provide ecology courses and field training for new graduates, career changers, experienced ecologists, developers, architects and conservationists wishing to work in consultancy.