Work Experience Opportunities

Work Experience Opportunities

Work Experience Opportunities

Experience | 16 August 2023

Here at GES, we provide work experience opportunities to help support as many future ecologists as we can. Recently we have offered work experiences to students from 3 different schools across Kent and East Sussex, providing a range of practical survey experiences, including reptile surveys and trapping, bat scoping, emergence and transect surveys, dormouse surveys, badger trail camera footage review, eDNA sampling, bird surveying, plus training sessions on bird calls, botanical ID, data handling, survey equipment, desk study requests and various different processes that take place within consultancy.

Ecological consultancy is a growing sector, as the UK moves towards more sustainable development practices, especially with the introduction of Biodiversity Net Gain in November. Ecology can also be a difficult sector to break into, therefore it is important to us at GES that we are able to provide not only an insight into the day-to-day life of an ecological consultant but also allow future ecologists to begin to develop the skills they’ll need to start a career.

The typical work experience week includes a number of site-based and office-based training. We make sure to provide a balanced variety of experiences to help these students develop key skills that will give a taste of a career in ecology. An example of a work experience week based on our most recent experience includes:

Monday: Introduction to the Industry, H&S and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) training modules and policy reviews; report reading including several different reports with different outcomes and services, given to be read throughout the week to give a good overview of the varied services we supply.

Tuesday: Survey data processing training, assistance with scanning survey sheets and loading data into project folders; a botanical walkover on the office estate; online training modules using the Atlas Platform (many of these produce certificates which are taken home at the end of the week); and some TOIL before shadowing a lead ecologist at an evening bat survey.

Wednesday: Shadow team members on a PEA (Preliminary Ecological Appraisal) site survey; botanical online season to receive a brief overview of botanical surveying and why it is done followed by basic training on how to use plant ID keys and a plant ID challenge; and a session on badger trail camera reviews; plus, some TOIL.

Thursday: Organising and creating reptile mats; a BNG (Biodiversity Net Gain) session to overview what BNG is, how it's used, CAD and to talk through a recent project; an overview of desk studies, the different types, when they’re used and how the results are received, analysed and put into a report; a brief Workflow overview session to go through the process of backroom, from how we get quote requests, the role of the project leads, ecologists, operations, admins and accounts team members, and how we schedule multiple survey types across the area.

Friday: Data processing; a chance to type up survey data; a brief overview of bird survey techniques; a demonstration on the HSI (Habitat Suitability Index) method and eDNA sampling on a pond on the office estate; a discussion with a member of the ecology team on how they got into the industry, their experiences to date, at university, in the work place and with volunteering; end of week session and experience review.

Feedback received has been great, and several of our attendees are now considering Ecological Consultancy as a possible career path. We have been contacted by a past attendee and asked to give advice on different ecological degrees, which we gladly assisted with.

As a team, we hope to continue to be able to offer these kinds of opportunities for many years to come and we look forward to hopefully seeing past attendees develop into ecological consultants in the future.

So if you are budding student, looking for work experience opportunities within ecology, please get in touch a few months before your proposed dates, we would love to hear from you.

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