We have heard from 6 of last year’s Certificate students this week that they have got jobs as Graduate or Assistant Ecologists! It has been hard to get jobs over the winter with lockdown as well but these students have been persistent and it has paid off! Well done everyone!!
Before starting the Certificate with Ecology Training UK I had undertaken a Master’s in Wildlife Management and a variety of wildlife volunteering. I had a re think about what to do and came across Ecology Training UK Certificate course. I decided to risk spending my overdraft on the course fees to undertake it, and I’m so glad I did. The wide variety of skills taught on the course are consolidated into a clear direction and this structure has directed my haphazard wildlife knowledge into a specific job and career. I was immediately able to work as a freelance wildlife surveyor as a result of the specific training provided, and the course has paid for itself already through this freelance work. I found it hard to feel good enough to put myself out there, but Sue Searle filled me with confidence to be able to send out emails asking consultancies to sub-contract me, and after gaining a variety of different Protected Species survey experiences, doing more volunteering with the Bat Conservation Trust and a zoom course in Kaleidoscope Bat Sound Analysis software I was able to apply for full time consultancy jobs. Now I have been offered a job as Assistant Ecologist for the upcoming survey season and I can’t wait to get started!
“I have just got a job at Jacobs as an Assistant Ecologist! I am really excited for all the opportunities this new job brings and I would never be as far as I am without your [Certificate in Ecological Consultancy] course.
This course has changed the trajectory of my life and everything I’ve learnt has given me a new lens to look at the natural world and be enthralled by its complexity and beauty and see what else there is to learn.
The Certificate course is also a great welcoming net of people who have been in similar positions to me and become successful too, it is a great boost when networking to have that friendly face that has been through the same things and is able to help out too.
Well done to Casey, Milla, Rachel, Mark, Ella, Amberlea, Robyn, Christine, Katherine and Ollie!
If you are interested in finding out more about Certificate in Ecological Consultancy CLICK HERE
Certificate is fully booked this year but if you want to go on our mailing list for next year email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be taking bookings in December for 2022!
I recently gave a career talk on Ecological Consultancy and
thought it would make a good subject for a blog. I was asked about
qualifications, backgrounds and experience. They are questions we get asked
quite regularly so hopefully we can answer a few of them here.
Firstly, there are many roads into this career. As you may know from her book, How to Become an Ecological Consultant, Sue switched careers in her 40’s from being a nurse and a midwife. Our ecologists have come to us straight out of university, after a decade of conservation and from the certificate course.
What qualifications do I need to be an ecological
Let’s start with the academic qualifications first. Almost every consultancy will look for a degree in a relevant subject, such as biology, zoology, environmental science or ecology. This will let your employer know that you can think a project through and write a report. A scientific background is good, as ecology reports are laid out in a similar way to the reports you would produce in a degree.
What if you don’t have a degree? Or your degree is in
something totally different? This will be harder as you will need to evidence
your experience elsewhere. You may need to do some work
experience or volunteering. This can also be a good way for you to find out
more about consultancy and whether you like it enough to put in the hard work
it’s going to ask of you!
Work experience can mean many things, from voluntary work to
courses and events. It’s a list of your different relevant experiences. Much of
it is likely to be voluntary, so you will need to decide how long you want to
volunteer for, and you need to make sure that you are getting the most out
of it. Working for a fantastic organisation, but only ever doing the filing
is not going to be any help to you!
Every consultancy is different. Ask around. Find out what
sort of jobs you can help them with and what you might get out of it too. You might help them collate all their
species records to send to the local records centre and in between you will
hopefully get out on a few surveys and learn what’s involved in the job.
Some consultancies have specialities, such as bat work or
newts or habitat management. Find out what they do and what you can get
Every county will have some sort of wildlife group. There
are plenty of bat groups, mammal groups, bird groups, the Wildlife Trusts,
National Trust, and other organisations and charities big and small who will
have volunteering opportunities. Some are big commitments, others might be ad hoc. Go along to meetings, chat to
other members and join in. Some are far more active than others. As well as
leaning from events, it’s a great way to meet people and can often open doors
to other opportunities.
There are plenty of courses out there. Make sure, if you are paying for a course, that you attend one from someone reputable such as PTES, The Mammal Society, FSC and of course, Ecology Training UK who have been providing training courses for over 10 years (also as Acorn Ecology). There are some free courses and events run by wildlife groups. Ask whether your local group runs these and how you can take part.
A question that comes up often is about driving. It is
important to be able to drive to sites. Many sites are remote with no public
transport. Plus, often you need to be there at unsociable times of day. If you
don’t drive it isn’t always a problem, as many companies send ecologists out in
pairs, but it does mean that you are always reliant on someone else. If you can
learn to drive, than I would really recommend doing so. If you can’t drive for
some reason then you will need to discuss this with potential employers.
Good computer skills are also very useful. Being out on surveys is great, but your survey notes will need typing up too. A good knowledge of Microsoft office is required. You could impress potential employers by doing a touch-typing course. There are plenty available on the internet. Something to keep you busy! Additional skills, such as qGIS or R-stats is always a bonus.
Being able to work long, strange hours, keep positive and
motivated and remain professional at all times are all key personality traits.
It can be a difficult job in that way. Whether you work with a big consultancy
or a small one, you will need to keep going. Remember to look after yourself!
Ecology Training UK’s Certificate Course
10 years ago, Sue launched the Certificate Course, whilst running Acorn Ecology, to be a real alternative to a MSc. You will learn the key skills in courses run by experienced, practising ecologists and get careers advice too. By the time graduation comes along, it is always great to see how confident the students are in their abilities, and to hear about how many of them have already taken steps in their careers and been employed. Students who do the PLUS course and spend 4 weeks in one of the branches always benefit from the experience.
Even when you are an ecologist, there are always new things to learn. As you progress in your career you will start working towards and gaining your protected species licences, preparing mitigation and getting more specialised. Ecology Training UK runs a handful of advanced courses, looking at the development side of protected species, on the understanding that students are already experienced in survey techniques.